Scilly Diver Might Have Located HMS Romney Wreck Site
The ship was one of four, including the HMS Association, Firebrand and Eagle, which sank in October 1707 after a navigational error directed the ships towards the rocks.
The loss of life resulted in Britain’s greatest maritime disaster.
While the wrecks of the other three ships have been located over the years, the Romney has never been uncovered.
Now islander Todd Stevens has found what he believes to be a Royal Navy anchor near the wreck site of the German liner SS Schiller that sank in 1875.
Todd has been pursuing a theory that the earlier wreck of the 48-gun Romney lies under the more recent shipwreck of the Schiller on the Retarrier Ledges.
That could explain why archaeologists haven’t found it yet.
Todd says the wreck of the Schiller, which has a lot of metal in it, masks any magnetic signals that would normally be used to detect artefacts.
But he says he’s now found a number of items that could come from Sir Cloudesley Shovell’s fleet.
He’s seen two old iron guns in the area, one just off the Schiller wreck, and has also uncovered what he believes to be a Royal Navy angle crown anchor right below the site.
Todd has spent a lot of time trying to pin down the Romney.
He says he used to think it was off The Crim, in deep water about 40m down, but he says that turned out to be a foreign vessel and there were only 24 cannons visible – not enough for the Romney.
It’s not unusual for a wreck to lie on top of another earlier ship in Scilly’s waters.
Todd says there are “loads of them” including the Earl of Lonsdale off St Agnes and the River Lune on Brothers Rock.
He hopes that the artefacts that he’s found turn out to be a debris trail leading to the main body of the Romney, rather than it lying beneath the Schiller.
And he says its is “disheartening” to think it may remain buried and inaccessible beneath another wreck, but says he’s “going to keep at it.”