SHANTY singers from Chudleigh are to feature in a special summer exhibition at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth. 

The group has recorded a song, composed by Glenda Melton about the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s flagship which sank in 1545 in the Solent. 

Performed by the shanty group, ’The Mary Rose’, will be played at the exhibition.

The Chudleigh Shantymen practice weekly at Chudleigh Constitutional Club and perform regularly at local events, raising funds for charities such as Cancer Lifeline Southwest. 

The 11 men, aged between 65 and 83, include spokesman Tom Hendy, who says leading the Shantymen is ‘like herding cats’. 

The Chudleigh Shantymen sing unaccompanied, a harmony of male voices from bass to tenor.

Ray Frost, retired builder and farmer, explained: ‘We’ve raised quite a bit of money for different charities.

‘We give a charity concert in the parish church every Poppy Day. We perform with other folk groups at the Globe Hotel on the second Friday of every month.’

The Mary Rose shanty was written by chance. 

Glenda explained: ‘My husband John was a member of The Chudleigh Shantymen and he was asked to bring a new shanty along for the next practice session. 

‘John and I and wrote our own. The chorus came first, “Heave her up! Haul her up!” sounded strong and dramatic. Then, of course I thought of the Mary Rose being hauled up, so I researched the history and the song seemed to write itself.’ 

John found the chords and taught the new shanty to the Chudleigh group, who have performed it many times.

The Mary Rose was Henry VIII’s favourite flagship. Commissioned in 1510, the 600-ton warship was built at Portsmouth. 

In July 1545 the French fleet attacked the Solent. The Mary Rose fired the cannon from her starboard side then came about intending to fire the cannon but heeled sideways, putting the open gun ports below water and sinking the ship in minutes. Only 35 of the 500 on board survived.

In 1982 the hull was lifted from the seabed. 

This and many artefacts salvaged from the ship are on display at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth.

Watch them singing at

Henry VIII's warship Mary Rose. Photo Visit Portsmouth
Henry VIII's warship Mary Rose. Photo Visit Portsmouth (MDA Visit Portsmouth )