Mary Rose Leather Gallery

I’ve finally managed to get organised enough to upload my photos from the Mary Rose Museum. “Mary Rose leatherwork”, or a variant on that theme is in the top 5 searches on this blog nearly every day, so there seems to be some demand for it. The museum features very low light to protect the finds from UV degredation, so the colour in the photos tends to be a bit muddy. Some of them have had a lot of work to pull the image from what at first appeared to be a black frame.

I’ve arranged the photos by item type, starting with archery equipment and then move on to other items. You may have seen some of these photos before but hopefully most of them will be new. The photos also link through to my Flikr account. I’ll update the descriptions when more information becomes available.

Archery Equipment

Archer's arm guard

Leather bracer embossed with the royal arms of Henry VIII.

Two archer's arm guards

Left: Ivory bracer with leather straps. Right: leather bracer, with stamped rosettes.

Leather Mitten 81A3292

Left hand mitten (both mittens found were for the left hand). I suspect these were used to protect the bow hand when shooting fire arrows from a longbow. The triangular shape of the thumb cut out can be clearly seen.

Mary Rose leather mitten 81A3292 1545

Fingertip detail of left hand mitten (both mittens found were for the left hand). 260mm long, 150mm wide at widest point. Unidentified leather, the other one found (81A3292 was sheepskin). The leather was stitched with the flesh sides together, then turned inside out so the seams were hidden/protected.

Mary Rose arrow spacer

Mary Rose arrow spacer. These would commonly be used with a linen canvas bag and be slung off a waist belt.

Mary Rose Arrow Spacer 1545

Mary Rose arrow spacer with the remains of arrow shafts in situ. These would commonly be used with a linen canvas bag and be slung off a waist belt.

Leather Bottles and Buckets

MR 79A1232

Back of Mary Rose leather flask 79A1232, 282mm high, 213mm wide and 57mm deep. Stitching is original and there is still some sealing pitch present. This bottle is asymetrical - the front is much more deeply curved than the back.

Mary Rose leather bottle 81A0881

Mary Rose leather bottle of the costrel form, 81A0881. Front is decorated with three vertical ridges with a double zigzag pattern between the ridges and to either side. There are several pairs of parallel tooled lines including a large inverted V and various rectangles on the base and back. The inside is coated with an unidentified subastance. The photo was taken in low-light conditions inside the museum, colours may not be accurate.

Mary Rose leather bottle 81A1214

Mary Rose leather bottle of the costrel form, 81A1214 was found in a chest along with some personal items and woodworking tools. Front and back are decorated with five pairs of parallel lines from top to bottom, framed by a horizontal line at the base and two parallel lines across the shoulders and neck. There are two asterisks on the base, with a saltaire cross (X) diagonally between them, and a saltaire cross on each end. There are reinforcing pieces in the shoulders/lugs and a gasket piece around the inside of the neck. There is the remains of a waterproof coating on the inside surface.

Reconstructed Mary Rose leather bucket

Reconstructed Mary Rose leather bucket. The leather buckets all have rust marks from iron handle rings and some have the remains of pitch sealing, indicating they were water rather than powder buckets.

Mary Rose Leather Bucket handle detail

Mary Rose Leather Bucket handle close-up

Footwear

Mary Rose type 1 shoe construction

Height separated welted shoe components from the Mary Rose (possibly 81A1861) showing the way the layers go together. The colour of the label corresponds to the colour code on the chart behind.

Assorted shoe parts

Assorted shoe parts found in the 2002/3 dig.

Mary Rose type 1 shoe quarter

Shoe quarter from a type 1 shoe, displaying a topband in place.

Mary Rose type 1 shoe

Type 1 shoe (high slip on with the throat raised by the extension of the front of the quarters).

Mary Rose type 1 & 2 shoes

Museum display showing the differences between type 1 (high slip ons with the throat raised by the extension of the front of the quarters) and type 2 (slip on shoes with straight throated vamp and straight top edge on the quarters.

Shoe sole made from old bucket

Replacement partial shoe sole cut from an old bucket. The lines of stitching can be clearly seen, and can the incised arrow marking it as the king

Shoe sole cut from old bucket

Replacement partial shoe sole cut from an old bucket. The shaded area indicates which part of the bucket the sole was cut from.

Mary Rose find 79A0877 Type 3 thighboot

Mary Rose type 3 thighboot (rounded toe, turn/welt construction, secured with four straps), there

Mary Rose find 79A0877 Type 3 thighboot

Mary Rose find 79A0877 type 3 thighboot (rounded toe, turn/welt construction, secured with four straps), outer and innersole. There

Scabbards and Furniture

Mary Rose scabbards and furniture

A display of leather scabbards from bollock knives (top, centre) and a rapier (bottom) together with the copper alloy fillings used to support them.

Mary Rose Rapier Scabbard

Rapier scabbard with incised decoration and hanging strap.

Mary Rose Rapier Scabbard

Mid-section of rapier scabbard with incised decoration and hanging strap.

Mary Rose Bollock Knife Scabbard with stamped decoration

Mary Rose bollock knife scabbard with stamped decoration, the scabbard has two compartments, one for the bollock knife and one for a by-knife.

Pouches

Type 1 leather pouch 81A2685

Fine embossed bovine leather, 275mm x 190mm showing the inner flap and the inside of the outer flap. Outer flap is lined with silk, the inner flap is two layers of leather stitched with the skin sides together.

Type 1 leather pouch 81A2685

Detail of the silk inside of the outer flap of 81A2685, 275mm x 190mm. False colours due to low light levels in the museum.

Type 1 pouch and unknown type pouch

Top:An unidentified Type 1 Leather pouch Bottom: An unidentified leather pouch.

Mary Rose Type 1 Leather pouch 81A1991

Fine embossed calf leather, 278mm x 197mm. The inner flap is plain. Type 1 pouches have two sections for storage, the larger is the same width and height as the outside of the pouch, the smaller is stitched in position between the inner and outer flap. Unlike the other type 1s, this one has a third pouch in front of the others.

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7 thoughts on “Mary Rose Leather Gallery

  1. Awesome pictures of the leatherworks from the Mary Rose Museum. I find the leather pouches with their intricate designs to be the most interesting to me. While I am not interested in the shoes as much, I can easily say that the pictures you posted will be very helpful when it comes time to work on developing leather items from this time period. Thanks.

    • All the by-knife sheaths I’ve seen are inside the main bollock knife sheath, I’d start by slitting the main sheath where the by-knives will go and re-moulding the main sheath with small wooden wedges shaped like the by-knives. I’d then make the by-knife sheaths, open the back seam of the main sheath and stitch the by-knife sheaths in place with tunnel stitches so it can’t be seen from the outside. Finally restitch the back seam and re-finish.

      It might help if you could point to a photo of one that you are making.

  2. Hi again, and thank you for visiting the blog!

    As you probably noticed I’ve re-used one of your photos (the Mary Rose sheath), I’ll add a proper note/link to its origin.

    I recently acquired the “Weapons of warre”, which has a generic image of a combined dagger/by-knife sheath. This image shows the by-knife sheats on the outside of the dagger’s sheath, as does (perhaps)the Albrecht Durer picture in my blog.

    I couldn’t make out if the sheath you photographed at the Mary Rose Museum had the by-knife sheath on the outside or on the inside, but by what you write I understand that it was put inside.

    Thank you very much for explaining how it is to be done! It has occupied my mind the last two days, and I was leaning towards that an opening of the long back seam was inevitable.

    Cheers,
    and thank you for a very nice blog!
    Ola

  3. These are lovely pictures. Thank you so much for making them available to those of us who cannot visit the display. I wonder if you can remember how big the arrow spacers were?

    • Hi, I’ll pretend I’m doing this from memory but I really have the book open in front of me. Seventeen spacers were recovered from the wreck, varying between 105mm and 160mm diameter. The holes vary between 12 and 15mm diameter, giving an upper limit for the size of arrowhead that would have been used. There is likely to have been a few percent shrinkage in conservation so reproductions could go marginally larger. Leather straps 10-15mm wide were found with 11 of the spacers, usually halfway between the spacer and the arrowheads.

      The photo with the shafts still in place is catalogue number 79A1204, 120mm diameter, 10mm thick, there are 24x 12mm diameter holes with 2-3mm stitch holes around the edge. It is associated with bracer 81A4675.

      The other I think is 82A2026, which is 130mm diameter, 4mm thick, also with 24x 12mm diameter holes. It might be one of the others, but they all fall in to this range.

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