Amman Valley man's hunt for heirloom home

LOOKING FOR ANSWERS: Martin Matthews with the pocket watch he believes belonged to poet John Harries.

The pocket watch was found in a field in Betws.

First published in News by , Reporter

AN AMATEUR Amman Valley metal detectorist who believes he has found a pocket watch belonging to a poet born over 100 years ago is hoping to reunite the time piece with the relatives of the original owner.

Martin Matthews, who took up metal detecting as a hobby only five months ago, came across the find while scanning in a Betws field.

“I’ve found many items while out searching, from old Victorian coins to bullet shells and even 1930s toys, but when I came across the pocket watch I knew straight away it was a fantastic find,” said Martin of Ceidrim Road, Glanaman.

“Fellow detectorists have told me it is very rare to find something so precious so early into the hobby. I feel very fortunate.

“Unfortunately, there is some damage to the face of the watch, but after a little clean up I was amazed by what I found on the back,” he said.

The watch has an inscription that reads – Presented to Ald J. Harries, JP, B.E.M, Pantyffynnon workmen for services rendered.

Following some research, Martin believes he may know who owned the watch.

“I’ve been doing a bit of online searching and so far I believe the man is John Harries, a councillor and poet from Betws, born in the 1870s,” said the 42-year-old.

Martin is now hoping to reunite the watch with John Harries’ living relatives.

“If there is a relative out there I would love to be able to pass the watch on to them,” he said.

“I would really like to know the history behind the watch.

“I’m sure there is a fascinating untold story. It would mean a lot to me if I could reunite the watch with its rightful owner.

“Many detectorists get a bad name for being scroungers, but we are here to help.

Imagine you have lost a ring in your back garden or out walking, that’s where we are able to help out.

“We don’t all do it for the money, it’s my hobby and I love it,” he said.

Do you think you may have some information about the pocket watch, the South Wales Guardian would love to hear from you.

If you can help contact the Guardian on 01269 590895.

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