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  • The Holigost of Henry V's war fleet has been found buried in a river in England.

    The Holigost of Henry V's war fleet has been found buried in a river in England. | Photo: File

Published 13 October 2015

The vessel was built for Henry V to help him wage the war against France in the 15th Century.

A 600-year-old vessel known as the Holy Ghost that was built for Henry V and helped him wage the war against France in the 15th century has been found at the bottom of River Hamble in Hampshire, England.

Historian Ian Friel spotted the ancient wreckage from an aerial photo he took and that led to the discovery of the Holigost or Holy Ghost

Dr. Ian Friel’s photo that led to the historic discovery. | Photo: English Heritage

The ship was the second of four built for Henry V's royal fleet, the government heritage agency Historic England said. They are in charge of protecting and investigating the shipwreck.

The Holigost was a crucial element in Henry V's war against France as he attempted to conquer that empire in a conflict better known as the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.

The Battle of Agincourt is one of those historic events that has acquired huge national significance,” said the head of Historic England Duncan Wilson. “To investigate a ship from this period close to the six hundredth anniversary is immensely exciting.”

Wilson anticipated there could be “fascinating revelations in the months and years to come” as a result of the investigations.

Friel said that in his “opinion, further research leading to the rediscovery of the Holigost would be even more important than the identification of the Grace Dieu in the 1930s.”

He explained that the Holigost participated in two of the most important naval battles of the Hundred Years War, which paved the way for the English conquest of northern France.

According to research, the Holigost had a crew of 200 sailors and carried large numbers of soldiers to war. The vessel was the flagship of the Duke of Bedford at the battle of Harfleur in 1416. It also participated in the climax of the fighting off the Chef de Caux in 1417.

The ship's name comes from Henry’s personal devotion to the Holy Trinity and was originally rebuilt from a Spanish vessel called the Santa Clara that was captured in late 1413 and acquired by the English Crown.

There is also evidence that history's first ever underwater repair of a ship was carried out on the Holigost in 1423 by a diver identified as Davy Owen.

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