Pevensey Bay - Resolution - 70 gun warship

The 70-gun war ship Resolution, sunk off Sussex in 1703, recently discovered by divers on the seabed in Pevensey Bay, off the Sussex coast.

The site comprises a cluster of at least 45 iron guns lying on top of ballast material, other artefacts and timber hull structure. Archaeological investigations to date have concentrated on confirming the identity of the site to be that of the Resolution primarily through the recording of the ordnance and ballast.

The Resolution was built in Harwich between 1665 and 1667 and was one of only three third-rate vessels built by noted maritime architect Sir Anthony Deane. In 1669, the Resolution was the flagship in an expedition against the Barbary Corsairs and took part in the unsuccessful attack on the Dutch Smyrna convoy, which resulted in the Third Dutch War.

The Resolution sank during the Great Storm on 26 November 1703, after being blown across the Solent, striking the Owers Banks six or seven times before the crew was able to raise a scrap of sail and round Beachy Head. By this time the ship was taking on water, the hold was full up to the level of the orlop beams, and so the decision was made to attempt to beach her in Pevensey Bay. The remains of the vessel had been burned by French Privateers by January 1704.

The ‘Great Storm’ is well documented in contemporary newspapers and by Daniel Defoe in his work The Storm: An Essay, written in 1704. Other protected warships lost in the same storm comprise the Stirling Castle, Restoration and Northumberland, located on the Goodwin Sands, off Kent.

Substantial sections of the hull of the wrecked warship exist beneath a mound of ballast. This is particularly exciting as in situ preservation of shipwreck material dating from the 17th and 18th centuries is uncommon. Therefore, following further investigations, this wreck may have the potential to be of even greater archaeological and historical importance than is considered at present.

The Nautical Museum's Trust is the legal owner of the Resolution.

Updated: Saturday, October 4, 2014 8:59