Heritage Category: Maritime Wreck

List Entry Number: 1000084

Date first listed: 23-May-2006

Location Description: Off Norman's Bay, East Sussex


Ordnance survey chart of NORMAN'S BAY
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Location Description: Off Norman's Bay, East Sussex

Latitude: 50.80294500

Longitude: 0.41063300

National Grid Reference: TQ6996003146


Possible remains of wreck of English or Dutch warship of the seventeenth- to eighteenth-centuries which stranded in Norman's Bay, East Sussex. It is thought possibly to be either the remains of the Third Rate Resolution, lost in the Great Storm of 1703, or of any one of a number of Dutch vessels lost during the Battle of Beachy Head, 1690; an alternative candidate is an unidentified vessel lost in the same area in 1667.


The initial interpretation of the site is that it may be the wreck of the Resolution, a 70-gun Third Rate that sank during the Great Storm of 1703. However, limited documentary research indicates that there are at least three other recorded losses within the Bay that might relate to the remains seen. Therefore, on the basis of the current limited level of investigation, all that may be said with certainty is that the archaeological remains are consistent with that of a large warship of the period 1600 to 1800.


Designation History: Designation Order: No 1392, 2006 Made: 23rd May 2006 Laid before Parliament: 24th May 2006 Coming into force: 14th June 2006 Protected area: 100 metres within 50 48.1767 N 000 24.6380 E

No part of the restricted area lies above the high-water mark of ordinary spring tides.

Documentary History: The size and the number of guns found on site are indicators of the vessels' possible identity as the Resolution or one of the Dutch vessels lost in the Battle of Beachy Head.

The strongest candidates for the Dutch warships lost in 1690 are the Vriesland and the Wapen Van Utrecht. Additionally the Maagd Van Enkhuizen, the Elswout, the Tholen and two unnamed warships are further candidates from this battle.

In 1985, the Nautical Museums Trust heard of salvors looking for the wreck of the Resolution. The Ministry of Defence was approached with a view to acquiring the wreck to prevent its destruction and the Warship Resolution Trust was set up, to which the wreck was given.

Archaeological History: In 2005, local divers discovered the site, comprising at least 45 iron guns, other artefacts and a timber hull structure, while attempting to free a lobster pot. The seabed within the area searched appears to be largely flat with a compressed clay/aggregate mixture overlain by silt and fine, loose, sand, which seemed to be highly mobile. The wreck mound, largely composed of ballast stones and iron guns, is surrounded by a slight scour trench. The mound is not continuous but is highest at the northern end of the site, approximately 1.5 metres high, although individual guns may project another 0.5 metre higher than this. (4) The discovery was reported to staff at the Shipwreck and Coastal Heritage Centre, Hastings.

In addition, a copper cauldron, a brick, a wrought iron bolt and concretion and a cast iron shot recovered by divers some years ago and believed to be from the Norman's Bay site was anonymously handed in.

Fieldwork in 2007 assessed the suitability of timbers for dendrochronological sampling, with 11 timbers selected for analysis from the hull structure, since these appeared to still be in situ. Here, ten large samples of exposed sections of framing timbers were taken from the eastern side of the wreck mound for analysis. Interpretation has confirmed that the timber is consistent with tree-ring sequences from Germany and the Low Countries, indicating the vessel's likely origin.

While the Resolution certainly foundered in Pevensey Bay and archival research has identified a probable area for the position of loss fairly close to the wreck site as investigated, all that can currently be said with certainty is that the archaeological remains are consistent with a large warship of the period 1600 to 1800.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 1441075

Legacy System: AMIE - Wrecks


Norman's Bay Wreck: Designated Site Assessment: Archaeological Report, November 2006
Norman's Bay Wreck: Designated Site Assessment: Archaeological Report, Wessex Archaeology, November 2007, Ref: 53111.03zz
Wessex Archaeology, April 2006, Norman's Bay Wreck, East Sussex: Undesignated Site Assessment,

End of official listing