Wreck of The Gloucester found 340 years after it sank

Two brothers from Norfolk have discovered The Gloucester, a ship that ran aground 340 years ago, off the coast of Great Yarmouth.

Described as ‘the most important maritime discovery since the Mary Rose’, the findings could reveal a new chapter of British History.

Julian and Lincoln Barnwell had spent four years, covering 5,000 nautical miles, in the search of the Gloucester before discovering it in 2007.

The ship’s bell was used to identify that the wreck which was one of the most famous ships of the 17th century. The ship sank 340 years ago while carrying the future King of England James Stuart.

Items such as the ships bell, clothes, shoes and unopened wine bottles have been found so far, but no human remains. It is believed that up to 250 people died aboard the ship, but England’s future Catholic king to a protestant throne, James II of England was rescued last minute. James II escaped with John Churchill onto a small boat, getting to Edinburgh the next day. The ship was travelling from Portsmouth to Edinburgh on royal business at Scottish Parliament before bringing the future King’s family home.

Currently, there are no plans to raise the remains of the ship as it is split down the keel and half-submerged in the sand. However with the involvement of UEA world-leading experts in maritime history and culture, ‘The Last Voyage of the Gloucester: Norfolk’s Royal Shipwreck’ about the finding of the Gloucester will be held at Norwich Castle Museum from Feb 25-July 25 2023 – also curated by Norfolk’s Museum Service.  

Reporter Aimee Dexter went to meet the Barnwell Brothers to find out more about how they discovered the Gloucester.

2 thoughts on “Wreck of The Gloucester found 340 years after it sank

  1. Fascinating and interesting story of such an historically significant wreck off our local coastline. Very well written.

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