A shipwreck lost at sea in 1682 has been found – 340 years later.
The Gloucester was thought to have been lost forever once it crashed off the coast of Great Yarmouth.
The incident was also infamous because it nearly saw the death of the-then Duke of York, who ended up becoming King James II.
But now it has been found – although it actually happened in 2007 – around 28 miles out to sea.
Kept secret all this time for security reasons, maritime expert Professor Claire Jowitt called it a find of “international importance”.
She said: “Because of the circumstances of its sinking, this can be claimed as the single most significant historic maritime discovery since the raising of the Mary Rose in 1982.
“The discovery promises to fundamentally change understanding of 17th Century social, maritime and political history.
“It is an outstanding example of underwater cultural heritage of national and international importance… the full story of the Gloucester's last voyage and the impact of its aftermath needs re-telling.”
But the ship's discovery was found by a team of professional divers – it was done by Norfolk-based printing brothers Julian and Lincoln Barnwell, friend James Little and the Barnwell brother's late father.
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It took them four years to do so, having been inspired by the aforementioned lifting of the Mary Rose.
Julian Barnwell said: “We had read the Duke of York was on board but that was it.
“We were confident it was the Gloucester, but there are other wreck sites out there with cannons, so it still needed to be confirmed.
“There is still a huge amount of knowledge to be gained from the wreck, which will benefit Norfolk and the nation.”
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The ship, which launched in 1654, had 54 guns and 280 crew members onboard, most of whom died in the incident – although no human remains have yet been found.
The ship is now the only Cromwellian ship still in existence.
Many of the artifacts have already been rescued, and an exhibition is planned to take place in the area later this year.
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