The Gloucester shipwreck: Hopes part of royal wreck can be recoveredon June 12, 2022 at 6:08 am

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It is thought the stern of the warship, which sank in 1682, is “almost certainly intact”.

The brothers measuring a cannon underwaterImage source, Norfolk Historic Shipwrecks / PA

Sections of a royal shipwreck found off the Norfolk coast may be recoverable from the seabed, a former head of the British Army has said.

Lord Dannatt, the deputy lieutenant of Norfolk, is due to chair a charity caring for items from The Gloucester.

He hopes a permanent local museum can be created to house its artefacts.

The discovery of the wreck, which nearly drowned a future king in 1682, was revealed on Friday after being kept secret for years for security reasons.

The warship ran aground off the coast of Great Yarmouth, nearly killing the Duke of York, who went on to become King James II of England.

Painting of the shipwrecked Gloucester

Image source, Wikimedia Commons

The wreck was found by two divers in 2007 and its discovery has only just been made public after its many artefacts were carefully salvaged from the sea.

Maritime expert Prof Claire Jowitt, from the University of East Anglia (UEA), said it was “the single most significant historic maritime discovery since the raising of the Mary Rose in 1982“.

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Lord Dannatt, the former British Army Chief of the General Staff, suggested it might be possible to raise some of the wreck.

“Whether the hull is intact I probably doubt it, but it is more likely it went down stern-first and the stern [rear] section is almost certainly intact,” he said.

“That is probably recoverable and we may be able to bring it up to the surface like the Mary Rose – which is why we say the Gloucester is Norfolk’s Mary Rose.”

Lord Dannatt

Image source, UEA

Lord Dannatt said the next stage would be to raise money to continue the site excavation.

“Building and putting into place a permanent exhibition in Great Yarmouth would be fantastic for the town, fantastic for Norfolk and fantastic for the nation,” he said.

In the meantime, Norwich Castle Museum is planning an exhibition of some of the finds next year.

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