Shipwrecked family heirloom found in North Wales after 128 years

By Owen R Hughes - Caernarfon Denbigh Herald


A silver pocket watch that sank to the seabed in a 19th century shipwreck will be returned to the family of the ship’s captain – 128 years on.

Captain Richard Prichard, of Abersoch, died on board the Barbara Barque rice ship on its journey from Liverpool to Rangoon in Burma in May 1881. He was aged 38.

His engraved pocketwatch was due to be brought back to his family on its return but the ship never arrived back in Liverpool.

It foundered on rocks and sank off Freshwater Bay, Pembrokeshire, in November 1881.

The pocketwatch lay in the wreck for 119 years until divers Rich Hughes and Nick Hammond discovered it on a diving expedition in April 2000.

Using the inscription – ‘Richard Prichard 1866 Abersoch North Wales‘ – diver Mr Hughes tried for years to track surviving relatives of Capt Prichard.

His search had hit a brick wall until he contacted the organisers of website Rhiw.com who put amateur historian David Roberts on the case in March.

After an exhaustive search that saw him trawl through graveyards and historic records, Mr Roberts found a descendant of a cousin of Capt Prichard.


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Barbara Barque Freshwater Bay Pembrokeshire Rich Hughes Nick Hammond Abersoch North Wales