King's treasure ship `found in Forth'

MARINE ARCHAEOLOGISTS searching for a treasure-laden ship belonging to Charles I, which sank 366 years ago near Edinburgh are convinced they have found the vessel. All summer they have been examining a wreck which lies beneath 40m of water, a mile off Burntisland in the Firth of Forth. It is believed to contain a fabled 280-piece silver dining service commissioned by King Henry VIII as well as other royal possessions, which today would be worth pounds 500m.

The archaeologists say that they are now poised to confirm publicly that the vessel is the Blessing of Burntisland, a royal ferry which sank during a storm in 1633 while carrying Charles I's possessions across the Firth of Forth after he had been crowned King of Scotland. Only two of the 35 people on board survived as the king watched in consternation from his own ship, the Dreadnought.

Alex Kilgour, spokesman for the Burntisland Heritage Trust, said that he was confident a positive announcement on the identity of the 60ft long, 15ft wide and 5ft deep ship could be made within two months. His colleague, Ian Archibald, said the historical significance of the ship was enormous. "What you have here is a fully intact royal kitchen that went down. Elsewhere, we have bits and pieces but we have never found the whole thing intact. We believe that everything is there right down to the soup ladels."

The find, if confirmed, will be the most important since the recovery of the Mary Rose. The importance of the vessel was appreciated equally well when it went down. So upset was Charles I that he rounded up 19 witches in Lancashire, blaming them for invoking the squall that swamped the vessel. In fact, it is more likely that it sank simply because it was overloaded with treasure - said to be worth pounds 100,000, or one fifth of the entire Scottish exchequer.

The site of the wreck remains controversial. This week, a San Diego- based diver, Bill Warren, claimed that the trust had merely located an 18th-century junk ship and that an American psychic had discovered the true location of the Blessing of Burntisland. The site identified by the psychic apparently confirmed coordinates pinpointed scientifically by Professor William Wallace at San Diego University.

Yesterday, Mr Archibald, a cartographer, rejected the San Diego claims, but confirmed that his group's identification of the site was made by Jim Longton, who had used a dowsing twig over a map. When Mr Longton tested his conclusions in the Forth, his rod began quivering madly just 50m from the spot he had identified on the map, right over where the wreck was found. "It was almost as if I was on the Blessing," he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine