Wednesday, February 11, 2015

2/11/15 Report - 6 PM Conditions Update. Cross of the Order of the Holy Spirit. One Remarkable 1715 Fleet Artifact.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Photo source: Wikipedia link below.
The Order of the Holy Spirit was created by Henry III in 1578.  The Order of Saint Michael was an older and less exclusive honor.

Knights of the Order wore a medallion such as the one shown to the left.  It is a gold cross with gold fleur-de-lys and white enamel.  The dove, of course, signifies the Holy Spirit.

Knights of the order were supposed to wear the medallion at all times.  It was worn on a blue silk ribbon or with an elaborate collar.

Nearly 27 years ago, on June 9, 1988, Captain Mo Molinar amd the crew of the Virgalona found the medallion pictured below about a mile north of the main pile of the presumed Nieves wreck site in the area of the famous "carpet of gold"

The Order of the Holy Spirit was a French Order, so what would a knight of the Order of the Holy Spirit be doing on a Spanish treasure ship? 

John de Bry's article The Order of the Holy Spirit: An Important Decoration from a 1715 Plate Fleet Wreck (The Florida Historical Quarterly, Vol 74. No. 1. pp. 50-63) gives us an idea.

De Bry says, The present decoration is extremely rare in historical significance.  It is one of the few 1715 Plate Fleet artifacts which have been the focus of thorough historical research.  It is inconceivable that it could have been anything other than the rightful property of a knight of the Order of the Holy Spirit, and the 1715 dating strongly suggests that the knight was Don Isodore-Juan-Joseph Domingo de la Cueva y Benavides, he first Spanish recipient of this prestigious award.

Artifact Found By The Crew Of The Virgalona
Source of photo: Florida Historical Quarterly link above. 
It appears that this artifact has been traced to a particular passenger on the 1715 Plate Fleet.  Few artifacts are remarkable enough that they can be identified with such specificity.  It makes you think of Don Isodore, esteemed and knighted, perhaps wearing this decoration with color and cord, when disaster strikes. 

You can look out at that same area of the ocean the next time you are at Douglass Beach and imagine how Don Isodore became separated from this unique artifact that remained on the ocean floor for hundreds of years before being discovered again by the crew of the Virgalona.

Here is a link to the de Bry article..  You might have to register with JSTOR to be able to gain access to the article.  Yesterday I talked about JSTOR and some of the ways you can access it.

And here is the link to the Wikipedia article.


The wind is from the North on the Treasure Coast and the surf on the southern end of the Treasure Coast is about 4 - 6 feet, and more up north, more like 6 - 8 feet.

As of 6 PM Douglass Beach had big waves but no erosion.  You can see what that looked like in the picture below.  The waves were hitting straight on, and the front beach was mushy.

600 PM Beach View.

Tomorrow it should be a little higher.  We'll see if that actually happens.

Happy hunting,