Sovereign of the Seas 1637

‘Sovereign of the seas’
(under construction)

Ship’s history

HMS Sovereign of the Seas was a 17th century British Royal Navy first rate ship of the line of 100 guns. It was built by Peter Pett (later a Commissioner of the Navy), under the guidance of his father Phineas, the King’s master shipwright, and was launched at Woolwich dockyard on October 13, 1637. As the second three-decked first-rate (the first three-decker being Prince Royal of 1610), she was the predecessor of Nelson’s Victory, although Revenge, built in 1577 by Mathew Baker, was the inspiration providing the innovation of a single deck devoted entirely to broadside guns.

She was the most extravagantly decorated warship in the Royal Navy, completely adorned from stern to bow with gilded carvings against a black background, and the money spent making her, £65,586, helped to create the financial crisis for Charles I that contributed to the English Civil War. Charles had imposed a special tax, the “Ship Money”, to make possible such large naval expenditure. The gilding alone cost £6,691, those days the price of an average warship. She carried 102 bronze cannon (Charles explicitely ordered such a high number) and was thereby at the time the most powerfully armed ship in the world. Until 1655 she was also exceptionally large for an English vessel; no other ships of Charles were heavier.

Sovereign became leaky and defective with age during the reign of William III, and was laid up at Chatham, ignominiously ending her days by being burnt to the water line as a result of having been set on fire either by accident, negligence or design.

(Finished) Model dimensions

Scale1:78
Totale length1100 mm
Hull length960 mm
Maximum width435 mm
Hull width180 mm
Height865 mm
Guns100