The discovery of the Gloucester, a ship sunk 340 years ago, could change what we know about 17th century maritime history.
A British warship sank in 1682 while carrying a future king. The vessel has now been located in the east of England.
The vessel in question is the Gloucester, which lay half-buried under the sea undetected until brothers Julian and Lincoln Barnwell and James Little discovered it in 2007 after a four-year search off the Norfolk coast.
The ad appears after 15 years of secret verification work due to the need to protect the wreckage from looters, writes the ScienceAlert.
The Gloucester represents an important “near moment” in British political history: a royal shipwreck that nearly caused the death of the Catholic heir to the Protestant throne — James Stuart, Duke of York and Albany — at a time of great political and religious tension.
“Because of the circumstances of her shipwreck, this can be claimed as the most significant historic maritime discovery since the rise of the Mary Rose in 1982,” said Claire Jowitt, the co-curator of the exhibition that will showcase finds from the wreck.
“The discovery promises fundamentally change the understanding of seventeenth-century social, maritime, and political history.”he added, quoted in a statement from the University of East Anglia, in England.
The ship sank after a dispute between the future King James II of England, a former admiral, and the commander, to control the ship’s course as it navigated the treacherous Norfolk shoals.
Gloucester was commissioned in 1652 and, 30 years later, selected to carry James Stuart — who later became King of England and King of Ireland as James IIand King of Scotland as James VII — to Edinburgh to pick up his pregnant wife and their families.
The aim was to bring them back to King Charles II’s court in London in time, it was hoped, for the birth of a legitimate heir.
Jowitt said investigators will try to figure out who else died in the sinking and tell their stories, “as the identities of a fraction of the victims are currently known.”
Within an hour the ship sank with the loss of hundreds of crew and passengers. The duke almost died too, having delayed the abandonment of the ship until the last possible moment — just like a true captain.
Naval Administrator Samuel Pepys, who witnessed events from another ship in the fleet, described the harrowing experience for victims and survivors, with some rescued “half dead” from the water.
Daniel Costa, ZAP //