Mystery over detectorist’s nautical finds

A METAL detectorist from Staple Hill is looking for information about his latest finds.

David Upton searches local fields and other areas, with the permission of landowners, to look for lost or buried artefacts.

His latest finds are brass items with a nautical theme, uncovered while searching derelict outbuildings at an old market garden near Frenchay.

They include a handbell with an anchor-shaped handle, a ship’s oil lamp with a gimbal fitting, which would have kept the lamp horizontal in a swell, and a decorative letter opener, with the name Sea Princess engraved on the hilt.

David believes some of the items could be from the 18th or 19th century.

While two ships have been named the Sea Princess in the past 50 years, both cruise ships operating between 1979 and 2020, the letter opener was in a building which David, who grew up in the area, says has been disused for at least 60 years.

He said: “It could be from a ship from Bristol docks many years ago.”

The lamp is stamped with the words “Made in England” in capitals but the bell has no markings.

David hopes to donate the items to Frenchay Village Museum if he can establish some details about their origin.

Do you remember a ship called the Sea Princess being based in Bristol, or have any information about the other items?