antique jewellery and a silver lion's head

Royal Yacht Mary treasures

These beautiful treasures were salvaged from the wreck of Britain’s first Royal Yacht, the 'Mary'. She was presented to King Charles II by his allies the Dutch in 1660, the year he came to the throne. The yacht was a sight to behold, with her cabins decorated with gold leaf and fitted out with gilded leather and beautiful paintings. She was the height of luxury.

Disaster struck in 1675 when she was wrecked on the Skerries, a treacherous group of rocks off the north coast of Anglesey. The wreck was discovered in 1971 and Merseyside Maritime Museum supervised the salvage operation of many important artefacts. They included these gold rings, 'memento mori' lockets and the butt of a holster pistol formed as a silver lion's head.

Find out more in the book Royal Yacht Mary - The Discovery of The First Royal Yacht, which is available from the online shop.

These treasures are not currently on display but you can see fascinating objects from many other ships in Merseyside Maritime Museum, including items from the wreck of the Titanic in our current major exhibition Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story.

Accession numbers: 

  • 1977.71.1971.40 'Memento mori' with flower motif on enamel reverse
  • 1977.71.1971.41 'Memento mori' with gold filigree tulip decoration
  • 1977.71.1971.43 Gold signet ring
  • 1977.71.1971.44 Jewelled ring
  • 1977.71.1971.52 Butt of holster pistol