||Naval Institute Press
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During the seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth centuries naval ships were built at yards that were not too distant from forests that supplied the timber. The Dockyard at Portsmouth and the private concerns found on the River Hamble, Southampton Water, and the River Beaulieu received most of their timber from the New Forest. Chatham Dockyard and the builders on the Thames obtained wood from the Wcalden forests of Kent and Sussex. The Forest of Dean also contributed great quantities of timber to all the building areas. The master shipwright of the dockyard would send a 'purveyor' to these forests with a body of men and it was his job to select and determine which trees would provide the most suitable timber. This can be divided into two groups, compass oak and straight oak. Compass oak was taken from the parts of a tree where the grain followed the curvature of a bough or where a branch grew out from the bole of the tree. This timber was used for the ship's frames and knees where the requirement of grain-following timber would give the required strength needed in the construction.