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