The Grace Dieu

Client – Eastleigh Council/Road to Agincourt Virtual Museum

Specialist Consultants – Professor Jon Adams/Dr Ian Friel/Dr Julian Whitewright

CGI model – Grant Cox (ArtasMedia)

Programs used – 3DS Max/Vray/After Effects/Photoshop/PhoenixFD

In the mudflats of the River Hamble, near Bursledon lies a piece of unique medieval maritime heritage, one that has a special relationship with the University of Southampton. Here lies the wreck of the Grace Dieu, Henry V’s flagship. When it was finished in 1420, it was the biggest royal ship ever built. In fact, no bigger ship was built in England for another 200 years.

The story of the Grace Dieu is unique from a historical, but also from an archaeological point of view. In July 1416, work began in Southampton to construct the fourth, last and largest of the great royal warships of Henry V. The new ship was to be 1400 tons, the biggest ship ever constructed. She was blessed in 1418, but did not make her maiden voyage until 1420. It turned out to be a disaster. When at sea, a number of men from Devon mutinied and insisted on being put ashore at St. Helen’s on the Isle of Wight. Grace Dieu’s brief naval career was over and she was never called on to put to sea again. By the end of 1420, the vessel was moored in the River Hamble and functioned as a technological marvel to impress foreign dignitaries. Albizzi, the captain of a Florentine galley fleet was invited to dine on board the Grace Dieu and wrote in his diary that he had never seen ‘so large and splendid a construction’. In 1434, she was towed up the River Hamble to Bursledon, where she was laid up in a specially constructed dock in the mudflats. On 7 January 1439, lightning struck and a major part of the hull burnt out. Only the keel and some of the bottom planking remained embedded in the mud.

Taken from “Shipwrecks and Submerged worlds” –

In 2017 we began work on the reconstruction of this historic ship, with an aim to create as knowledgeable a design as possible, based on collaboration with specialists in both its historical and archaeological legacy. In the process of working alongside a team from the Techub and Eastleigh Borough Council to deliver an animated panoramic experience for the Road to Agincourt Virtual Museum, a CGI archive was created of both the ship and the scene in which it was laid up later in its life in the Hamble. Throughout this process, Professor Jon Adams, Dr Ian Friel & Dr Julian Whitewright were consulted and their research referenced. The model now exists as a first stage attempt at recreating this legendary ship.

Breakdowns of this project will soon be posted.