TV historian Dan Snow hails "very brilliant" brothers who found lost wreck

TV historian Dan Snow shares his excitement over the discovery of the Gloucester off Great Yarmouth

The foundering of the Gloucester in 1682 and (inset) TV historian Dan Snow who has shared his excitement about its discovery in his History Hits podcast. - Credit: Archant/Wikimedia Commons

TV historian Dan Snow has hailed as "terrific news" the locating of the lost royal shipwreck, the Gloucester, off the coast of Great Yarmouth.

Julian and Lincoln Barnwell found the ship somewhere at the bottom of the North Sea some five hours off the coast, 15 years ago in 2007.

The discovery was announced on Friday (June 10) along with plans to set up a trust to fund more archaeology, and conserve and interpret all the finds.

Speaking on his History Hits podcast Snow revealed he had been among those in on the secret and had met the brothers before describing them as "legends".

He said their explorer antics were in the British tradition of "eccentric, passionate amateurs getting out there and tirelessly researching and digging in to things and being rewarded with great success."

Julian and Lincoln Barnwell who discovered the wreck of The Gloucester which sank 340 years ago. Pic

Julian and Lincoln Barnwell who discovered the wreck of The Gloucester which sank 340 years ago. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Archant 2022

The discovery of the Gloucester, "not just any old ship but a royal naval vessel carrying the heir to throne", is tipped as being the most significant maritime marvel since the raising of the Mary Rose in 1982.

Snow described the ship's community as including "lots of toffs" the ship's passenger list reading "like a Who's Who of late Stuart England."

James Duke of York was saved from the Gloucester in 1682 although his behaviour during the disaster was questioned.

James, Duke of York (1633-1701), by Henri Gascar. He was saved from the wreck of the Gloucester and acceded to the throne in 1685 as England's last Catholic king only to be ousted less than four years later in the 'Glorious Revolution.' - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Prof Claire Jowitt said the ship had enjoyed an illustrious military career, initially for Cromwell in the Caribbean and later with the Royal Navy taking part in major battles.

In 1682, the year she sank, she had been recently refurbished in Portsmouth and was like a new vessel.

A Shaft & Globe wint bottle, Bartmann jug and a ceramic medicine or food jug found by Julian and Lin

A Shaft & Globe wint bottle, Bartmann jug and a ceramic medicine or food jug found by Julian and Lincoln Barnwell found in the wreck of the Gloucester. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Archant 2022

By all accounts the ill-fated mission from Portsmouth to Edinburgh to collect the Duke of York's pregnant wife was more of floating pleasure palace, the loading of luggage apparently taking hours.

Most Read

Some 30 bottles of wine have already been found, with indications being the preferred Stuart tipple was claret.

On the broadcast the brothers described the wreck area as a tight site just 50m by 30m, with no debris field.

The wreck of The Gloucester has been found off Great Yarmouth

The wreck of the Gloucester off Yarmouth, 6 May 1682, by Johan Danckerts. It was one of the most famous ships of the 17th century which sank 340 years ago while carrying the future King of England, James Stuart. - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The discovery of the ship's bell in 2012 was the "smoking gun" they needed to seal its identity as the royal Gloucester, the inscribed date of 1681 ruling out another contender The Kent which sank earlier.

Snow said he was very excited the day had finally dawned when he could speak about it.

Lost royal ship the Gloucester found off Great Yarmouth

Bothers Lincoln and Julian Barnwell with some of their finds from the Gloucester. - Credit: UEA

Having been part of an expedition which located Shackleton's Endurance in the Antarctic in March he added he was looking forward to joining the brothers for a dive at the site.

Julian and Lincoln Barnwell with the wreck of the Gloucester off Great Yarmouth

Brothers Julian and Lincoln Barnwell measuring a canon on the seabed. The discovery of the royal Gloucester has set historic hearts racing. - Credit: Norfolk Historic Shipwrecks

The discovery of the wreck of the Gloucester off Great Yarmouth

Lincoln Barnwell, Prof Claire Jowitt, Dr Ben Redding, and Julian Barnwell with some of the finds from the wreck of the Gloucester. - Credit: UEA