William Bourne, of Gravesend, by trade a gunner, was a successful writer of a new type of textbook. Neither a scholar nor of gentle birth, both of which were regarded as the prerequisites of authorship in the 16th century, when the scientific books were expected to appear only in universities and to be read only by those fluent in Latin, Bourne nevertheless produced a whole series of technical manuals, written in English for the artisans and craftsmen of his own class. A Regiment for the Sea, which forms the core of the volume, is perhaps the earliest technical manual written by an Englishman. It is not simply his rules for navigation, for Bourne wrote much as he spoke, so that out of this instruction book for sailors a clear picture of the man himself emerges: serious, reliable, patriotic and with this inborn impulse to pass on his knowledge to others. The first edition of 1574 is printed here in full, with the additional material which was added to the 1580 edition. Professor Taylor has also included two Almanackes. She has written an introductory section to each text, and in her general Introduction she fills in the details of Bourne's life and discusses his various writings. There is a full bibliography. This is a new print-on-demand hardback edition of the volume first published in 1963. Owing to technical constraints it has not been possible to reproduce Fig.2 'From London to the Medway: details of Symonson’s map of Kent, 1596' which appeared in the first edition of the work.
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