In 2000, Rich Hughes was diving near a shipwreck off the coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales when he spotted a shiny object under the sea. He retrieved a pocket watch with "Richard Prichard 1866 Abersoch North Wales" engraved on the casing. After nearly ten years of detective work, Hughes reconstructed the story of the pocket watch and its owner. Ship captain Richard Prichard died during a voyage of the Barbara and was buried at sea. A man named Jones took over both the ship and the captain’s effects, but did not have the necessary navigational skills. The ship sailed into the wrong channel and sank during a storm in 1881. The crewmen were rescued, but captain Jones went down with the ship, and presumably had the watch on his person. Hughes enlisted the help of an amateur historian to track down Prichard’s family.
The watch, which was seized up and will never work again, will be handed to Mr Cowell later this month.
His grandmother was Captain Prichard's cousin, making him the closest surviving family member.
He said: "I am delighted the watch has come home after all these years.
"It has come as a complete surprise to me that my ancestors had such a colourful, seafaring past."
The watch will go on display at the Porthmadog village hall. Link