French team to build replica of William the Conqueror’s battleship

hey27 September 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, sailed in La Mora, at the head of a huge fleet that would invade and conquer England. now one Historical Society on France’s Normandy Coast to Rebuild Shipwreck which launched nearly 1,000 years of cross-Channel hostilities.

The Bayeux Tapestry, a 70-metre-long (230 ft) embroidered account of the Norman Conquest, depicts La Mora as a Viking-style longship with a striped red-and-gold sail flying a papal banner on its masthead. Is. On board were William, his most trusted knight, his entourage and horses, and 60 sailors.

The rest, as they say, is history. King Harold was defeated at the Battle of Hastings 17 days later, and William the Conqueror, the Norman duke, became king. england,

The €13m (£11m) project will reconstruct the 34-metre-long, 5-metre-wide La Mora, with 70 crew including sailors, in a former industrial warehouse near the wharf of Honfleur port.

Olivier Pezzi, president of the La Mora project, says the builders don’t have much to go on. No original plans and few details of the actual ship survive, except for the one depicted in the tapestry, where it was shown with a gilded figure of a child pointing to England and with a lion’s head, a symbol of royal power, Tongue sticking out on his forehead.

William the Conqueror
William the Conqueror. His ship was so fast, he had to stop for wine and snacks in the Channel on his way to England so the rest of his army could catch up. Photograph: Archiver/Image

“We have plans for the Bayeux Tapestry and the sister ship of La Mora, as well as similar vessels depicted in museums in Denmark and Norway, where such crafts were originally made,” Pezzi said. “Our architect is confident that we can reproduce the ship as authentically as possible.”

The Scientific Committee of the project is also in close contact with Roskilde Museum in Denmark, which has built replicas of several 11th-century shipwrecks using techniques based on the discovery of ancient wrecks in 1962.

Naval architect Marc Ronet, who is overseeing the project and drawing up the preliminary plans for La Mora II, says it was a Viking-type warship, propelled by oars and 150m square sails, and was narrow and shallow, meaning was sharp. So swiftly, the history books tell us, that after setting sail from the village of Barfleur on the evening of 27 September 1066, the next morning William had to wait in the middle of the Channel and have breakfast with wine while the rest of his fleet Over 7,000 men and 2,000 horses were captured after being taken.

The fleet landed at Pevensey in East Sussex later that day and went on to defeat King Harold at Hastings on 14 October. “In contrast to how it is done today, building a and you’re not (Norse warship) Built with the planks of the outer shell first fitted, before the frame or skeleton is fitted. This method requires a specialized know-how and fewer tools, but it is also a reflection of the tools available in the 11th century,” said Ronet.

“The way they cut the wood, planed the boards and assembled the pieces dates back to the tools of the 11th century. Carpenters of the time used green wood, which was easier to bend. After cutting the oaks, they hammers and hammers, and then split planks to make planks. The point of splitting wood is to let it take its course: in the end, planks are stronger and thinner, and boats are lighter .

3D image of Mora
A 3D image of La Mora, William the Conqueror’s battleship. Photograph: Kadeg Boucher

with a project to build a medieval castle Guedelon in Burgundy Reproducing La Mora will involve long-forgotten skills, using 13th-century techniques that are also proving useful in the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. “Marine carpenters have to re-learn these techniques that are not used today,” said Ronette.

Another challenge is to certify the ship as seaworthy. “European standards clearly do not take into account the ships of the 11th century. However, the 34-meter length of La Mora makes it a great pleasure boat! We are working with [European Commission’s] Maritime Affairs to find technical solutions to meet current safety standards,” said Ronette.

The first €7m phase of the project will involve the site being opened into a tourist and exhibition center at the end of next year, followed by a €5m second phase to build a replica. Paying visitors will see the work in progress.

Although Honfleur has no historical connection with the Norman Conquest, Pezzi states that the site was the most suitable, and that the exhibition space would more broadly reflect the maritime history of the region, and could attract up to 200,000 tourists per year. It is hoped that the new Mora will be ready to channel in 2027, the 1,000th anniversary of William’s birth. This time, Pezzi says, the French come in peace. He also hopes the project will boost interest and sponsorship in the UK.

“There are descendants of William’s company on both sides of the Channel, and the aim is to create something that is Franco-British. The aim is not to give importance to the French invasion or to be victorious in any way. We want it to be a Franco-British friendship Something that could reconnect our two countries in the wake of Brexit.

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