12th July 2024

The Gloucester: 17th Century Shipwreck Uncovered Off The Norfolk Coast


A 17th century shipwreck has been uncovered off the Norfolk coast in the east of England. It’s being described as the most important maritime discovery since the raising of King Henry VIII’s warship, the Mary Rose.

The warship, HMS Gloucester sank 340 years ago while carrying the future King of England, James Stuart, but the wreck’s whereabouts were unknown until divers Julian and Lincoln Barnwell unearthed it after a four-year search.

With around 40,000 wrecks around the UK coast and many of these being off the Norfolk coast a lot of research was carried out before work began to locate the ship. But after 4 years and a search of over 5000 nautical miles they finally found it.

Many fascinating artefacts have already been recovered including pipes with tobacco still inside, spectacles and bottles including some with their contents intact. And of course, the ship’s bell.

The ‘Gloucester’ represents a well preserved time capsule that takes us back over 300 years. Many will want to see the ship raised like the Mary Rose but this could prove problematic. 

For now at least, the wreck is safe on the seabed and there are many more artefacts yet to be recovered. 


University Of East Anglia

Norfolk Museums


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