Phineas Pett

(c. 1570—1647) shipbuilder and naval administrator

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(1570–1647), English naval shipwright and naval administrator. A beguiling figure of the Stuart navy, Phineas Pett was at once a progressive and creative shipwright who helped advance naval ship design, and a poster child for the rampant corruption that infested the navy's administration at the start of the seventeenth century. Born on November 1, 1570, Pett belonged to a family of shipbuilders—he was the eldest son of the master shipwright Peter Pett and was father to two others, Peter and Christopher. Phineas was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Unable to pursue a career in the church or the law, he apprenticed to a master shipwright at the Royal Dockyard at Dept ford. After a voyage to the Mediterranean, he began associating “with men of good rank better than myself” (McCaughey, p. 934) and helped fit out ships for Sir Francis Drake (1594) and Robert Devereux, the second Earl of Essex (1596). He also studied under master shipwright Matthew Baker.


From The Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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