CAIRO – 12 June 2022: The wreck of a British royal warship that sank 340 years ago has been discovered by amateur divers. The discovery of HMS Gloucester off the Norfolk coast has been hailed as the largest marine find since the discovery of the Mary Rose in the 1970s.
The distinguished frigate of 54 guns sank on May 6, 1682 after hitting the sandy beaches of Norfolk in the southern North Sea, 28 miles off the coast of Great Yarmouth. Efforts to locate the wreck, led by brothers Julian and Lincoln Barnwell, proved successful after a 4-year search covering 5,000 nautical miles.
Plans are underway to display artifacts aboard the ship that have been recovered, including clothing, wine bottles and the ship's bell.
Organized by the University of East Anglia and the Norfolk Museums Service, the exhibition will run for five months at the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery from spring next year.
The ship itself is fragmented and still at the bottom of the sea while authorities say there are currently no plans to bring any of the remains back to land.
The HMS Gloucester marked an 'almost' watershed in British political history as it nearly caused the death of the Catholic heir to the Protestant throne at a time of great political and religious tension.
James Stewart, who later became James II of England and who would be Britain's last Catholic monarch, survived the sinking, but nearly 250 sailors and passengers perished.
James barely survived after deserting the ship in the last minute, needlessly costing the lives of between 130 and 250 people on board, who, due to protocol, were unable to leave the ship before the King.