The Stories of the Gloucester Shipwreck: Norfolk's Mary Rose

The discovery of the Gloucester warship off the coast of Great Yarmouth by Julian and Lincoln Barnwell, and James Little, wrecked while carrying a future King of England and Scotland in 1682, was announced to the world in June 2022. The shipwreck is hailed as the most significant historic maritime discovery since finding the Mary Rose in 1971. 

In four events, curators of the Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery exhibition titled ‘The Last Voyage of the Gloucester: Norfolk’s Royal Shipwreck, 1682’, and experts in the field, explored the Gloucester’s stories as they are told through music and drinking, literature and history, art and textiles. 

You can find out more about the wreckage and the exhibition here on the UEA website.

Event series convened by Claire Jowitt, Professor of Renaissance Studies and Historical Lead, The Gloucester Project, UEA

To watch back all four events in the series, please expand the event details below.

Email: for more information. 

Research Series Events

Date: Tuesday 25 April 2023  

Finds from the wreck site indicate that passengers on the Gloucester were intent on having a good time. Wine bottles, wine glasses and beer jugs, part of a musical instrument, and tobacco pipes all suggest a party atmosphere. Experts in early modern drinking cultures, intoxicants, and music, share their knowledge about amusements and recreations of the Stuart court and on board the Gloucester


Chair Dr Benjamin Redding, Senior Research Associate, The Gloucester Project, UEA

‘Drinking and Smoking at Sea During the late Seventeenth Century: A Social History Both Above and Below Decks’ - Dr Angela McShane, Honorary Reader in History, University of Warwick

‘The Gloucester Shipwreck and Music at the Stuart Court’ - Professor Peter Holman MBE, Emeritus Professor of Historical Musicology, University of Leeds  


Date: Tuesday 16 May 2023  

Experts on maritime history place the Gloucester wreck in debates about James, Duke of York's leadership abilities and navy policy in the late 1670s and early 1680s. What particular qualities are required to steer the ‘ship of state’? Did issues and problems in the Royal Navy make tragedies such as the loss of the Gloucester inevitable, and how were they viewed and responded to?  


Chair Professor Claire Jowitt, Professor of Renaissance Studies and Historical Lead, The Gloucester Project, UEA 

‘A Naval Man: The Leadership Qualities of James Stuart, Duke of York and Albany’ - Professor Andrew Lambert, Laughton Professor of Naval History in the Department of War Studies at King’s College  

‘The State of the Royal Navy in the 1670s and 1680s’ - Dr J. D. Davies, Chair of The Society for Nautical Research


Date: Tuesday 20 June 2023  

In an age of oceangoing expansion, maritime disaster was a reality of seafaring life. Writers and artists repeatedly turned to the cultural meanings of shipwreck to understand the challenges and opportunities that result from global voyaging. Experts in maritime art and shipwreck culture explore how maritime disasters were used to explore and express a range of social, political, and cultural issues.     


Chair Dr Francesca Vanke, Senior Curator and Keeper of Fine and Decorative Art, Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery 

‘The Cultural and Political Meanings of Shipwreck and the Sea under the Later Stuarts’ - Dr Carl Thompson, Reader in Romanticism, University of Surrey 

‘Shipwreck, Material Culture, and the Body’ - Dr Elsje van Kessel, School of Art History, University of St Andrews


Date: Tuesday 11 July 2023  

The Restoration court is famous for magnificent clothes, high-heeled shoes and slippers, beautiful hats, and big wigs. In recent years there has been a number of spectacular textile items recovered from early modern shipwrecks, and the Gloucester is no exception. A bundle rescued in 2015 contained an intriguing and varied assemblage of textiles, many featured in the Gloucester exhibition. Experts on early modern clothing and its curation and replication share their knowledge of Stuart style, tailoring, and fashion. 


Chair Professor Claire Jowitt, Professor of Renaissance Studies and Historical Lead, The Gloucester Project, UEA 

‘The Politics of Restoration Fashion’ - Professor Maria Hayward, History, University of Southampton 

‘Curating and Replicating Stuart Style’ - Ninya Mikhalia, Historical Costumier and Ruth Battersby Tooke, Curator of Costume and Textiles, Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery