The Middle Ages were a time of unprecedented change in shipbuilding in northern Europe, bringing technological innovations that would have far-reaching effects on British, European and world history. This book traces the momentous developments in rigging and ship construction in England during the medieval period. The book focuses on two important improvements: the adoption of the lateen rig (using two or more masts in place of the single-masted square-rigger) and the change from clinker to carvel (or skeleton) construction. These changes set the scene for the development of the great European navies and the voyages of exploration that began in the 15th century. The book also examines the economic and social forces that shaped the shipbuilding industry and describes the period’s shipyards and the craftsmen who worked there. Illustrated with medieval manuscript illuminations, seals, tapestries and carvings, and with modern diagrams, drawings and photographs, this book should be of use to specialists in the history of sail and to anyone with an interest in medieval England.