Review: ‘Samuel Pepys and the Strange Wrecking of the ‘Gloucester’: A true Restoration tragedy’ by N. Pickford,

By David Bowen, published August 2023


The North Sea is a shallow but unforgiving sea, susceptible to violent and unpredictable weather, poor visibility, and beset with shifting shallows, nowhere more so than the vicinity of the North Norfolk Sandbanks and particularly the inner two called the Leman and the Ower. Dawn on 6 May 1682 revealed this sea at its worst, as a small and scattered fleet clawed its way northwards. The Gloucester carried James, the duke of York (future King James VII and II), together with his retinue. At 05:30 hours the ship struck the Leman sandbank, was mortally damaged and slid into deeper water where it sank in under an hour. The duke and a few of his party just managed to escape by small boat. Over 200 others were not so fortunate…

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Filed under: North Sea | Other (Early Modern) | Shipwrecks
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

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