- On 29/07/2013
- In Treasure Hunting / Recoveries
From Wales Online
Treasure worth £1m remains undiscovered in a shipwreck off the Welsh coast, an explorer claims.
The Royal Charter was on the final leg of her voyage from Australia to Britain when she was smashed to pieces by one of the biggest storms ever to hit Britain off the coast of Anglesey on October 25, 1859.
The ship was carrying hundreds of passengers and crew and a fortune from Australian gold fields.
The death toll of 497 is the highest of any shipwreck on the Welsh coast and was written about by Charles Dickens.
Treasure hunter Vincent Thurkettle, a full-time gold-panner who is leading the exploration of the wreck, admits it's increasingly difficult to find anything of value amongst the remains – but said there’s likely to still be £1m of gold on the sea bed.
“She was probably carrying well over £100m in gold – at least £80m in cargo plus the passengers' personal belongings – and even if 99% has been recovered now that still leaves at least £1m undiscovered,” said Vincent, whose exploration is being filmed for S4C series Trysor Coll y Royal Charter (Lost Treasure of the Royal Charter).
Vincent said: "The debris scattered on the seabed includes everything from broken plates to dress-making pins and coal. The last of the gold may never be found.”
Vincent has uncovered relics which would have been very dear to some of the ship's passengers, including a small, beautifully crafted ring of gold, opal and diamonds and a snuff box engraved with the name Edward Bennett.
Vincent said: “£1m is roughly 1% of the money that sunk with the ship.