A royal warship that had sunk off the east coast of Britain over 300 years ago with a future king onboard was unveiled on Friday by some researchers who had kept this discovery a secret for 15 years to safeguard such a wreck from impairment.
In 1682, King James II of England was the Duke of York. He managed to escape the sinking ship “The Gloucester” narrowly, which reportedly went down off the eastern England coast after it hit a sandbank. Afterward, he was crowned the King of England and King James VII of Scotland after three years.
Claire Jowitt, a Professor at the University of East Anglia said that the discovery pledges to change the understanding of 17th-century maritime, social, and political history. It is the best example of an underwater cultural heritage of international and national importance.
Credits: CBS News
Its final location, about 45km off the Great Yarmouth coast, was a mystery until it had been discovered by diving brothers Lincoln and Julian Barnwell in 2007 after a search that lasted four years.
The shipwreck revealed historical artifacts, including a bottle that boasts a glass seal that has the crest of the Legge family — ancestors of George Washington, the first US President.
As the vessel had sunk so fast, nobody would have been able to rescue anything. It can safely be described as a wonderful “time capsule”.
Other artifacts include navigational equipment, clothes, wine bottles, and personal possessions — some with contents intact.
The university has estimated that between 130 and 250 individuals may have lost their lives in such an incident, which is said to have threatened to alter the course of history.
Catholic James II was ousted six years after the ship sunk, by the Protestant William of Orange in the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688, paving the way for Britain’s future constitutional monarchy.
References: The Indian Express, Science Alert