Detail showing rudder of an English ship, c 1426.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Detail of the rudder, from a rigged model (scale 1:48) based on a representation of a ship contained in the seal of John of Lancaster (1389-1435), Duke of Bedford (Lord High Admiral of England) from about 1426. The forecastle and aftercastle are both permanent features, a 13th century innovation designed for fighting purposes. By the late 15th century, single-masted ships of this type, which effectively differed little from the Viking longships of some 500-600 years earlier, were being superseded by three-masted ships with carvel-built hulls. At this date it was custom to decorate the sails with armorial badges.