Anthony Roll  (1546) 
by Anthony Anthony

The Anthony Roll is the common name for a set of three vellum rolls that lists ships of the English navy of 1546, under the reign of king Henry VIII. It contains illustrations as well as information on tonnage, armament, equipment and size of crews. As a record of a royal state navy of the 16th century it is unique in containing so many illustrations of various types of ships. The Anthony Roll also contains the only known contemporary depiction of the carrack Mary Rose that sank in 1545. This text is based on the transcription published in Knighton & Loades, The Anthony Roll of Henry VIII's Navy: Pepys Library 2991 and British Library Additional MS 22047 with related documents, 2000.

A sample picture of the second roll, showing the layout of text and images used throughout the Anthony Roll. The information for each vessel is displayed in columns directly below its illustration.


Notes on use of numerals and measurements

The numbers in the rolls are written in Roman numerals, though with more complicated formulas for certain large numbers than those used today. The letter "i", standing for one (1), is written as "j" when standing alone or at the end of a sequence of numbers, as in "viij" (8) or "xij" (12). Four (4) is written as "iiij" rather than "iv". The number five (5) is written as "v", ten (10) as "x" and fifty (50) as "l".

A superscript "c" means multiplication by one hundred (100), as in "iijc" (3 x 100 = 300), though this is occasionally also written as "ccc". A superscript "ml" means multiplication by a thousand (1000), as in "vmliijc" (5 x 1000 + (3 x 100) = 5,300). The number eighty (80) is written as "xx" (20) multiplied by "iiij" (4), the former on top of the latter, as in " ". This can also included in more complex numbers such as "ixc ix" (9 x 100 + (4 x 20) + 9 = 989).

A superscript "lb" stands for pounds, used as a measurement only for gunpowder. Bowstrings are given in gross ("groce"), twelve dozens, or 144.


This work was published before January 1, 1927, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.