The website and database are the products of a three year AHRC Early Career Research Grant held by Dr Craig Lambert at the University of Southampton (2014-2017) entitled 'The Evolution of English Shipping Capacity and Shipboard Communities from the Late Middle Ages to Drake's Circumnavigation'. The project had two central aims:
These aims were met through the compilation and interrogation of databases of merchant shipping and shipboard communities. The period is one of fundamental importance to English history for it was at this time when the seeds of England's maritime empire were sown. At the start of the period, English shippers were mainly coastal traders. By the end of the period Drake had set out on his voyage of circumnavigation and Walter Raleigh was close to planting England's first settlers on Roanoke Island.