What's Happening in Rochester blog

Henry VIII’s dockyard uncovered

Comedian Rory McGrath found evidence of Henry VIII’s dockyard in Medway during filming for a new TV series.

The episode of Pub Dig was aired on the History Channel at the beginning of December and showed the discoveries being made on the banks of the River Medway.

McGrath and a team of archaeologists were searching for Medway’s hidden Tudor shipyard and were working in an area that had never been explored before.

The evidence uncovered included a ship’s hook, nails and tankards used by Tudor ship builders from the time of King Henry VIII. They also found medieval relics and the foundations of a vast Georgian building that would once have been filled with the cannon for ships.

Paul Blinkhorn, the field archaeologist on the project, said: “Digging at the Chatham Dockyard was, as an archaeologist, both a thrill and a privilege. To be able to carry out the first formal excavations on a site of such global importance was certainly an experience I shall never forget, and the results were better than we could have dared to hope.”

Keith Stephen, manager of the Command House pub at the site, said: “It has been absolutely brilliant – a lot of locals came along to see what was happening and they were really interested to see what might be discovered during the dig.

“I have always wanted to find out more about the history of the place and this has given me the chance to do that.”

Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Rodney Chambers, said: “We are delighted that this team has made such significant discoveries, which have helped increase our understanding of Medway’s great maritime heritage.”

This entry was posted in History. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *