A description from Roger of Hoveden of the demise of The White Ship in 1120.
“To his son and all his retinue he [Henry I] had given a ship, a better one than which there did not seem to be in all the fleet, but as the event proved, there was not one more unfortunate ; for while his father preceded him, the son followed somewhat more tardily, but with a still more unhappy result. For the ship, when not far from land, while in full sail, was driven upon the rocks which are called Chaterase, and being wrecked, the king’s son, with all who were with him, perished on the sixth day before the calends of December, being the fifth day of the week, at nightfall, near Barbeflet. In the morning, the king’s treasures which were on board the ship, were found on the sands, but none of the bodies of those lost.There perished with the king’s son, his illegitimate brother, earl Eichard, together with the king’s daughter, the wife of Rotrou ; Richard, earl of Chester, with his wife, the king’s niece, and sister of earl Tedbald, the king’s nephew. There also perished Othoel, the governor of the king’s son, Geoffrey Riddell, Robert Maldint, William Bigot, and many other men of rank ; also several noble women with no small number of the king’s children ; besides one hundred and forty soldiers, with fifty sailors and three pilots. A certain butcher was the only person who made his escape, by clinging to a plank of the wrecked vessel. The king having had a fair voyage, on reaching England, thought that his son had entered some other port ; but on the third day he was afflicted with the sad tidings of his death, and at first, from the suddenness of the calamity, fainted away, as though a person of weak mind; but afterwards,concealing his grief, in contempt of fortune he resumed his kingly spirits. For this son being the only one left him by lawful wedlock, he had named him heir to the kingdom in succession to himself.”