Builder: Peter Pett, Woolwich Dockyard HISTORY
Sovereign of the Seas was a 17th-century warship of the English Navy. She was ordered as a 90-gun first-rate ship of the line of the English Royal Navy, but at launch was armed with 102 bronze guns at the insistence of the king. It was later renamed Sovereign, and then Royal Sovereign. [Full citation needed] The ship was launched on 13 October 1637 and served from 1638 until 1697, when a fire burnt the ship to the waterline at Chatham.
Sovereign of the Seas was ordered in August 1634 on the personal initiative of Charles I of England, who desired a giant Great Ship to be built. The decision provoked much opposition from the Brethren of Trinity House, who pointed out that “There is no port in the Kingdome that can harbour this ship. The wild sea must be her port, her anchors and cables her safety; if either fayle, the ship must perish, the King lose his jewel, four or five hundred man must die, and perhaps some great and noble peer”. But the King overcame the objections with the help of John Pennington and from May 1635 she was built by Peter Pett (later a Commissioner of the Navy), under the guidance of his father Phineas, the king’s master shipwright, and was launched at Woolwich Dockyard on 13 October 1637. As the second three-decked first-rate (the first three-decker being the Prince Royal of 1610), she was the predecessor of Nelson’s Victory, although the Revenge, built in 1577 by Mathew Baker, was the inspiration for her, providing the innovation of a single deck devoted entirely to broadside guns.