The wooden frigate Wrangles Palats was built in Holland in 1662. She measured 107.0′ x 25.6′ x 11.6′ and after her launch, she initially served as a Swedish merchantman before she was acquired by the Swedish Navy in 1669. On 1st June 1677, during the Scanian War, she was captured by Danish Admiral Niels Juel at the Battle of Moen and subsequently converted to a frigate and then, armed with forty six guns, she began her service with the Royal Danish Navy with a name change to Wrangels Palais, which was to last ten years.
In June 1687 Vice Admiral Frederick Gedde of the Royal Danish Navy received orders from his king to assemble a small fleet and sail to the area north of Shetland to provide some protection for Denmark’s merchant ships from a marauding band of Turkish privateers in thirteen ships reported to be terrorising the area. He assembled six ships – the Gyldenlove and the Svermeren, the frigates Hejren, Victoria and Wrangels Palais, which had been named after a castle in Old Stockholm, and the barklonga Flyvende – and set sail for the area.
Wrangels Palais had a normal complement of 253 men although, for her final trip, only 240 were aboard. She was commanded by Captain Jacob Gabrielsen Roelack, who was to loose his life in the shipwreck, and he had two lieutenants – Anders Coertsen and Jorgen Liebendantz – to assist him. As they reached the Shetlands the fleet was enveloped in a dense fog and, on 23rd July, 1687 the Wrangels Palais ran aground on Lamba Stack, a remote outcrop in the Out Skerries. Only 152 of the men aboard the ship survived by making their way onto the rocky shores of the Skerries as their ship sank beneath them.
A court of enquiry was held in Denmark and apparently blamed Lieutenant Liebendantz for the ship’s loss concluding that he was asleep below when he should have been on watch. It would appear that this finding was challenged and probably overturned as he is recorded as being given command of other ships later that same year and retired with a pension many years later.
The wreck lay undisturbed until 13th August, 1990 when she was discovered by Tim Sharpe, a member of Strathclyde University diving club, who reported the find to the authorities. The wreck, which lies at the north east end of Broad Skerry, was immediately recognised as an important archaeological site and, although the identity of the ship was not known at the time, given protected status on 15th August. The first survey of the site in 1991 was hampered by bad weather and so, in 1993, the first extensive survey of the site was carried out.
Divers recorded a total of 31 guns, mainly cast but including two bronze guns among them, lying in a rock basin in depths ranging from 25 to 28 metres in position 60° 25.467’N 000° 43.387’W. The site was re-visited in 2011 by Wessex Archaeology, commissioned by Historic Scotland, and they carried out an extensive survey including multi-beam bathymetry. The site remains protected to this day and can only be dived under licence. The site is also very exposed making any exploration in anything other than calm weather dangerous.