Wreck of 17th-Century Royal Warship Found off UK Coast

(FiveNation.com)- The wreck of a royal warship that sank in 1682 while transporting a future king of England, Ireland, and Scotland is now being shown to the globe by explorers and historians.

While crossing sandbanks off the eastern English coast town of Great Yarmouth, the HMS Gloucester, sailing from southern England to Scotland, fell aground. An estimated 130 to 250 crew members and passengers perished when it sank within an hour.

King Charles I’s son James Stuart lived to adulthood. From 1685 to 1688, when the Glorious Revolution overthrew him, he ruled as James II of England and Ireland and James VII of Scotland.

After a four-year search, the wreck of the Gloucester was discovered in 2007 by brothers Julian, Lincoln Barnwell, and others. The 2012 discovery of the ship’s bell was defining moment of identification.

Due to the time required to determine the ship’s identity and the need to safeguard the historical location, the discovery was finally made public on Friday.

According to Claire Jowitt, a maritime history specialist at the University of East Anglia, the wreck was one of the critical ‘almost’ moments in English history.

When political and religious tension was high in Britain, the sinking of the Gloucester nearly resulted in the death of the Catholic heir to the Protestant monarchy.

He would have left behind a significantly different British and European history, according to Jowitt.

Jowitt says she believes this time capsule presents a wealth of information on life aboard a ship in the 17th century. The ship’s regal character is exceptional.

She considers the wreck the most significant maritime find since the Mary Rose, a warship from King Henry VIII’s Tudor navy. In 1545, the Mary Rose collapsed in the Solent, a channel connecting the Isle of Wight with the British mainland, with a crew of roughly 500 people on board. In 1982, a massive salvage effort brought it back to the surface.

Since a large portion of Gloucester’s wreck is covered in sand, there are no current plans to raise it.

Julian Barnwell said that we’ve barely scraped the surface of an iceberg.
Clothes, shoes, navigational aids, and numerous wine bottles are among the salvaged items. One bottle is marked with the Legge family crest, descended from George Washington, the nation’s first president. The Stars and Stripes flag’s predecessor was the crest.

The Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery will host an exhibition in the spring of 2019 to showcase wreckage finds and present continuing research.