The discovery was so significant that it was kept secret for 15 years: the wreck of the British warship Gloucester, which sank in 1682 while carrying the future King James II of Stuart, was found off England, the University of East Anglia announced today.
The ship had been resting on the seabed for centuries and no one knew exactly where it was, until brothers Julian and Lincoln Barnwell, with the help of their father and two friends, found it in 2007, after a four-year search in the open. of Norfolk, in the east of England.
The discovery was kept secret, on the one hand because it had to be officially certified as Gloucester and on the other hand because the site, the international waters, had to be protected, the university clarified.
“It’s an excellent example of our political heritage, of national and international importance,” said Professor Claire Jogwitt, a specialist in maritime transport history. I even argued that “because of the age of the boat, the condition in which it was found and the objects that were saved”, it is “the most important marine discovery after that of Mary Rose” which sank in 1545, was found in the 1980s and is now on display in Portsmouth .
The Royal Navy’s Gloucester sank in just one hour on May 6, 1682, off the Great Yarmouth, following a dispute between James Stewart and the helmsman over how to approach a sandy shore. It is estimated that 250 crew members and passengers drowned, but Iakovos was rescued at the last minute.
“Gloucester represents an important moment in British political history: a royal shipwreck that almost cost the life of the Catholic successor to the Protestant throne, in an age of great political and religious tension,” the university said.
In 2023, various objects found on the wrecked ship are expected to be exhibited at the Norwich Castle Museum and Gallery.