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The Royal Charles, one of the three Royal Navy ships to be fitted with the advanced Rupertinoe guns.

The Rupertinoe was an advanced naval gun designed by, and named after, Prince Rupert of the Rhine in the 17th century.


Naval warfare in the Restoration period placed an emphasis on naval firepower; as one writer has put it, warships had evolved into "floating artillery emplacements".[1] The Rupertinoe gun was a response to this challenge. Designed by Prince Rupert, an experienced naval commander and senior admiral of the Royal Navy, the gun was intended for use against the Dutch during the Anglo-Dutch Wars.

The Rupertinoe was a high specification, annealed and lathe produced gun modified at Rupert's foundry at Windsor Castle[2] and later at Woolwich, reflecting Rupert's scientific interests in metallurgy—he was the third founding member of the Royal Society.[3] The guns themselves were cast at the Foundry of John Browne in Brenchley, Kent. Unfortunately the high cost of the gun—three times the price of a regular weapon[4]—meant that by the Third Anglo-Dutch War (1672-4) only three ships had been equipped with it: the Royal Charles, the Royal James and the Royal Oak.[5] The guns cost £60 per ton as Rupert received a royalty of £20 per ton and as there were no perceived advantages purchase was soon discontinued.[6]


  1. ^ Kitson, p.156.
  2. ^ Spencer, p.351.
  3. ^ Spencer, p.265.
  4. ^ Endsor, p.9
  5. ^ Spencer, p.351; Endsor, p.9.
  6. ^ Barter Bailey, S. Prince Rupert's patent guns. 2000. Leeds.


  • Endsor, Richard. Restoration Warship: The Design, Construction and Career of a Third Rate of Charles II's Navy. London: Anova Books. (2009)
  • Kitson, Frank. Prince Rupert: Admiral and General-at-Sea. London: Constable. (1999)
  • Spencer, Charles. Prince Rupert: The Last Cavalier. London: Phoenix. (2007) ISBN 978-0-297-84610-9

See also[edit]