TWO scuba enthusiasts have marked the 150th anniversary of an historic ship wreck off Anglesey, by writing a book.
Chris and Lesley Holden of Higher Kinnerton wrote Life and Death on the Royal Charter after diving to the wreck for more than 20 years.
The Flintshire-built Royal Charter is famous after sinking in 1859 with gold worth millions in today’s money, as well as the deaths of 500 people.
“The Royal Charter Ship was built in Sandycroft for the Australian Steamship Company of Liverpool, and was launched from the River Dee in 1855,” said Chris, 60.
“It carried gold and passengers between Liverpool and Australia during the gold rush, but one night, after months of sailing from Melbourne, she was wrecked during a storm off Moelfre, Anglesey, just 50 miles from Liverpool.
“It was tragic,” he added. “The strength of the storm was unprecedented in the UK at that time, and 800 people across the country died, 500 of whom were aboard the Royal Charter, just metres from the coast.”
Chris and Lesley have been diving wrecks for years, and have previously written two guides to scuba diving in North Wales.
“We wanted to write about the wreck as we think it’s such an interesting story, and the only other book ever written was in 1961,” said Lesley, 60.
“As much as 27,000 ounces of gold was sunk , which at the time was valued at £109,464.”
The book features extracts from 19th Century newspapers at the time, including numerous articles from the Chester Chronicle and the Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald.
Chris and Lesley have recently filmed an episode for the BBC’s One Show, to discuss the beginnings of weather forecasts, which will be shown later this year.
The book is available from Borders, Cheshire Oaks, The Bookshop, Mold, and Waterstones, Chester, as well as online at www.calgopublications.co.uk