HMS Gloucester – James I’s warship that sank in 1682 is off the Norfolk coast Yorkshire News

HMS Gloucester ran aground some 28 miles from Great Yarmouth following a dispute between James, then the Duke of York, and the ship’s pilot, James Ayres, over how to navigate the treacherous Norfolk sandbanks.

She sank an hour after the attack, at 5:30 a.m. on May 6, killing between 130 and 250 crew and passengers.

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James barely survived as he delayed abandoning ship until the last minute and unnecessarily cost the lives of many who, per protocol, were not allowed to abandon ship to the royals.

Julian and Lincoln Barnwellwith with a bell from the wreck of HMS Gloucester, which they located off the Norfolk coast.

He accepted no responsibility for the sinking, instead blaming the pilot and wishing to have him immediately hanged, although Mr. Ayres was court-martialed and imprisoned.

James went on to reign as King James II of England from 1685 to 1688, when he was deposed by the Glorious Revolution.

The wreck of HMS Gloucester has been found by brothers Julian and Lincoln Barnwell, along with others, after a four-year search of 5,000 nautical miles.

They found the site in 2007, but due to the time it took to confirm the identity of the ship and the need to protect an ‘at risk’ site, which is in international waters, their discovery can only now be made public.

Julian and Lincoln Barnwell with some of the artifacts from HMS Gloucester

It has been described by one historian as the most important maritime discovery since the Mary Rose, the warship of King Henry VIII’s Tudor navy.

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The Mary Rose was sunk in battle on the Solent in 1545 and raised in 1982, later on display in Portsmouth.

Lincoln Barnwell said: “It was our fourth season diving for Gloucester. We were beginning to believe that we were not going to find it, we had done a lot of diving and we had only found sand.

A bell from HMS Gloucester which sank off the Norfolk coast.

“On my descent to the seabed, the first thing I saw was a large canyon on white sand, it was impressive and really beautiful. It instantly 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. That was special and I will never forget it. Our next job was to identify the site as Gloucester.”

Maritime history expert Professor Claire Jowitt, from the University of East Anglia (UEA), said: “Given the circumstances of her sinking, this is arguably the most important historical maritime discovery since the raising of the Mary Rose. in 1982.

“The discovery 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.

“A tragedy of considerable proportions in terms of loss of life, both privileged and ordinary, the full story of the Gloucester’s last voyage and the impact of its aftermath needs to be retold, including its cultural and political significance and legacy.

“We will also try to establish who else died and tell their stories, as the identities of a fraction of the victims are currently known.”

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 at a time of great political and religious tension.

The ship was commissioned in 1652, built at Limehouse in London, and launched in 1654. In 1682 it was selected to take James to Edinburgh to pick up his pregnant wife and their families.

The aim was to bring them back to the court of King Charles II in London in time, it was hoped, for the birth of a legitimate male heir.

The ship sailed from Portsmouth, with James and his entourage joining him off Margate in Kent, having traveled by yacht from London, before running aground off the Norfolk coast.

The chronicler and naval administrator Samuel Pepys, who witnessed the events from another ship in the fleet, wrote his own account, describing the harrowing experience of the victims and survivors, with some picked up “half dead” from the water.

In addition to James, HMS Gloucester carried a number of prominent English and Scottish courtiers, including John Churchill, later the 1st Duke of Marlborough.

The Barnwell brothers found the wreck site in 2007, along with their late father Michael and two friends, including James Little, a former Royal Navy submariner and diver.

The ship split at the keel and the remains of the hull were submerged in the sand.

The ship’s bell, made in 1681, was later recovered, and in 2012 it was used by the Receiver of Shipwrecks and the Ministry of Defense to decisively identify the ship as HMS Gloucester.

In addition to the Wreck Receiver and the Ministry of Defence, the wreck has been declared…

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This notice was published: 2022-06-10 04:29:27

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