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From the rigging of the Nina, Pinta,and Santa Maria to the humble fisherman’s line, knots have been at the foundation of many of the most important, and everyday, events in maritime history. Without knots, much of the maritime world would literally fall apart. 

Composed of eight volumes with over 1,900 hand-written pages and beautifully drawn pen and ink diagrams, Henry Bushby’s manuscript “Notes on Knots” represents an in depth study of knotting and ropework, as well as knot theory. Written between 1902 and his death in 1926, Bushby’s work was never published. 


Henry North Grant Bushby was born on September 6, 1863 in London, England and was the eldest son of Henry Jeffreys Bushby and Francis North Bushby. From 1876 through 1885, Bushby was educated at both Eton and Trinity College, where he won the English Essay Prize for 1883 and 84. After finishing school, Bushby served as a lieutenant in the Hertforshire Yeomanry for two years. In 1893, Bushby married Annie Esther Ford. Together they would have three children: Dorothy (b.1897), Geoffrey (b.1899), and Francis (b.1902). 

In 1902, Bushby began work on “Notes on Knots,” which he would continue for the next twenty-four years. Also in 1902, Bushby wrote the article “The Agreement Between Great Britain and Japan” for The United Service.  During the first World War, Busby served as Captain in the Royal Defence Corps-Territorial Force. 

Bushby died on January 14, 1926 at the age of 62.  Dorothy donated her father’s manuscript “Notes on Knots” to The Mariners' Museum in 1957.