The wreck of one of the most famous ships of the 17th century – which sank 340 years ago while carrying the future King of England James Stuart – has been discovered off the coast of Norfolk in the UK, after a little help from Alan Boswell Group (ABG).
Since running aground on a sandbank on May 6, 1682, the wreck of the warship the Gloucester has lain half-buried on the seabed, its exact whereabouts unknown until ABG clients, Julian and Lincoln Barnwell, with their friend James Little, found it after a four-year search.
Now a major exhibition is planned for Spring 2023, the result of a partnership between the Barnwell brothers, Norfolk Museums Service, and academic partner UEA. Running from February to July at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, the exhibition will display finds from the wreck – including the bell that confirmed the ship’s identity – and share ongoing historical, scientific and archaeological research.
The brothers are clients of ABG and run Barnwell Print in Aylsham. They are licensed divers and Honorary Fellows in the School of History at UEA. Lincoln said he was partly inspired to search for the wreck after watching the lifting of the Mary Rose on television as a child.
“It was our fourth dive season looking for Gloucester,” he said. “We were starting to believe that we were not going to find her, we’d dived so much and just found sand. On my descent to the seabed the first thing I spotted were large cannon laying on white sand, it was awe- inspiring 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 that moment in time who knew where the wreck lay. That was special and I’ll never forget it. Our next job was to identify the site as the Gloucester.”
After a meeting with Julian and Lincoln, Alan Boswell, Executive Chairman at ABG agreed to help the brothers, financially, enabling them to continue their efforts on recording the site and preserving artefacts.
“We’re thrilled to have been a small part of this project, which helps bring our history back to our shores. It’s been a honour to help Julian and Lincoln and we’re so pleased that their years of hard work have been worthwhile,” remarked Alan.