- On 10/06/2022
- In Underwater Archeology
From Liz Coates - EDP 24
The discovery of a ship lost off the coast of Great Yarmouth 340 years ago has been hailed as the most significant maritime find since the raising of the Mary Rose.
The Gloucester was heading to Edinburgh carrying a future king of England and an array of nobles when it collided with a sandbank 45km off Great Yarmouth on May 6, 1682, sinking within an hour. And because the ship sank so quickly nothing was saved, offering the tantalising prospect of chests full of personal and royal items waiting to be explored.
Up to 250 people died in the tragedy, but crucially James Stuart the Duke of York - later James II - was saved, changing the course of British history. Artefacts recovered so far include clothes, shoes, and unopened wine bottles, providing a rich time capsule of life on board a 17th century ship and firing imaginations across the world.
The ship itself, the most famous warship of its day, is half buried in sand and there are currently no plans to raise it.
It was found in 2007 by Norfolk divers Julian and Lincoln Barnwell, with their friend James Little, after a four-year search covering 5,000 nautical miles.