Susan Rose recently released a new book, England\’s Medieval Navy 1066-1509: Ships, Men & Warfare. It is now available in hardback worldwide.
We are accustomed to think of England in terms of Shakespeare\’s \’precious stone set in a silver sea\’, safe behind its watery ramparts with its naval strength resisting all invaders. To the English of an earlier period – from the 8th to the 11th centuries – such a notion would have seemed ridiculous. The sea, rather than being a defensive wall, was a highway by which successive waves of invaders arrived, bringing destruction and fear in their wake. Deploying a wide range of sources, this new book looks at how English kings after the Norman Conquest learnt to use the Navy of England, a term which at this time included all vessels whether Royal or private and no matter what their ostensible purpose – to increase the safety and prosperity of the kingdom.