HMS Gloucester ran aground more than 300 years ago after a dispute between future King James Stuart and the ship’s pilot. The wreck was found by a team led by brothers Julian and Lincoln Barnwell
The wreck of a royal warship that sank in 1682 while carrying the future King James Stuart has been discovered on the seabed.
HMS Gloucester ran aground more than 300 years ago after a dispute between James, then Duke of York, and the ship’s pilot James Ayres.
They were arguing about navigating the treacherous sandbars of Norfolk when she sank 28 miles off Great Yarmouth at 5.30am on 6 May, killing up to 250 crew and passengers.
The wreck was found by a team led by brothers Julian and Lincoln Barnwell, both 55 years old, after a four-year search of 5,000 nautical miles.
Chronicle of the Royal Family)
It has been described by one historian as the most important maritime discovery since the Mary Rose, warship of King Henry VIII’s Tudor Navy.
Artifacts include clothing, personal items, and unopened wine.
One of the bottles bears a seal with the coat of arms of the Legge family, ancestors of the first US President George President.
Lincoln, an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of East Anglia’s School of History, said: “It was our fourth season of diving in search of Gloucester.
“The first thing I spotted was a big cannon lying on white sand, it was impressive and really beautiful. It immediately felt like a privilege to be there, it was so exciting.
“We were the only people in the world at the time who knew where the wreck was. I’ll never forget it.”
In 1682 the Royal Navy’s 50-gun frigate was chosen to take James to Edinburgh to pick up his pregnant wife and their households, but she ran aground.
Instead of ordering the men to abandon ship, the heir to the throne demanded that they draw water from the sling.
Photo Credit: National Maritime Museum)
When he realized it was too late and boarded a lifeboat, his men were unable to save themselves.
Naval Administrator Samuel Pepys, who witnessed the events from another ship in the fleet, wrote his own account.
He described the harrowing experience for survivors, some of whom were pulled from the water “half dead”. The protocol meant that the crew could not leave the ship before the king. James took no responsibility, instead blaming the captain, Mr Ayres, who was locked up.
He reigned as King James II of England and Ireland and James VII of Scotland from 1685 to 1688 when he was deposed by the Glorious Revolution.
Marine history expert Prof Claire Jowitt of the University of East Anglia said: “Due to the circumstances of its sinking, this can be described as the most significant historic marine discovery since the 1982 raising of the Mary Rose.
“It promises to fundamentally change the understanding of the social, maritime and political history of the 17th century.
“It is an outstanding example of underwater cultural heritage of national and international importance.”
The site was found in 2007, but only now can its discovery be made public. In addition to the recipient of the wreck and the Ministry of Defense, the wreck has been declared Historic England.
An exhibition is planned for next spring at the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/wreck-king-james-royal-warship-27191362 Wreck of King James' Royal Warship found more than 300 years after sinking