Original British Named Royal Navy Officer’s Sea Chest Converted to Hold Three Flintlock Pistols from His Service 1772 – 1847

Item Description

Original Items: One of a Kind Cased Set. Not anything that we would have expected, sold from the family in England some years ago. Here we have a genuine, rather standard same Naval Officer's Sea Chest measuring 21" X 8 1/2" X 8 1/2" with lock, now missing, with top iron carry handle and weathered brass plaque engraved :-

Lt. D. Gould
R - N

A silver naval symbol of a Lion, head and Anchor has been added over the keyhole to the front. The chest has two large brass hook/clasps to the front on either side. All nicely weathered. The interior displaying typical 1770's wrought iron hinges secured by hand made iron nails. All in all we feel this sea chest was originally used as Lt. DAVIDGE GOULD's personal items contained for clothes, toiletries, writing instruments and optics.

However now in contains a bottom level housing a PAIR of fine quality, almost unused brass barrel blunderbuss flintlock pistols, made by JOSEPH TIREBUCK of LONDON, each of which marked with a DG monogram on the silver grip escutcheon. Each has British proof marks on the bottom of the barrel. Each functions correctly, holding at half cock and firing at full. They also both have sliding safeties. The only issue to note is that one has a crack on the right side of the grip, and both have repairs to the left sides of the grips near the action. Please see the pictures for further condition details.

The bottom level also contains a brass powder flask and and iron bullet mold, complete with a small leather wrapped two draw telescope inside a cardboard case, made in brass just 7" long when closed extending to a full 16 1/2" when opened. There are empty lidded compartments for lead balls, flints and other accessories.

The entire level, only 3" deep, is lidded with, what reminds us of a drawer front with hinged iron pull handle, separating the pistols from the upper compartment. This compartment now houses a circa 1775 British Flintlock SEA SERVICE pistol, displaying its proof marks to the LEFT side of the barrel indicating very early manufacture. In the 1790's and throughout the Napoleonic Wars proof marks were always stamped on the TOP of the barrel. 

This fine pistol has the correct Crown over GR on the center of the lock plate and TOWER across the tail, along with the "Lock Viewer's" mark under the pan. The frizzen has the extra support "bridle" on the outside. It has all brass mounts, a walnut full stock and an iron belt hook on the left hand size. Totally honest and totally original. The lock functions correctly, holding at half cock and firing at full.

Most interestingly this Sea Service pistol is held in place once the Sea Chest is closed by a slot cut into the compartment's wood divider which holds the belt hook, securing the pistol in place. Ingenious but from a use point of view totally impractical, so here's the story as best we understand it.

DAVIDGE GOULD was born, the son of a Clergyman, in 1758 in the County of SOMERSET, England. He joined the ROYAL NAVY in 1772 and did see some service in the American Revolutionary War aboard H.M.S. ALARM. He was promoted LIEUTENANT in 1779 and to CAPTAIN in 1789. He took part in the BATTLE OF THE SAINTES in 1782 aboard HMS CONQUEROR. He commanded HMS AUDACIOUS during Admiral St. Vincent's attack on CADIZ in 1796 also at NELSON'S famous BATTLE OF THE NILE in 1798.

His bravery was noteworthy and he became a member of NELSON's elite commanders in what was known as "NELSON 'S BAND OF BROTHERS". After the NILE he soon left Sea Service for Admiralty duty becoming a REAR ADMIRAL in 1807 and a FULL ADMIRAL in 1825. He died in 1847, aged an amazing 89 years of age! What a Naval Career!

It is our conclusion that this SEA CHEST started life and service in 1779 being used as we have suggested. Upon leaving Sea Service in the late 1790's then Captain GOULD purchased the pair of Brass flintlock blunderbuss pistols for personal protection in those treacherous times of the French Revolution followed by the Napoleonic Wars. He had this pair housed in the bottom of his sea chest and added his long time Service pistol used throughout his Naval Service, being mounted in the upper compartment, purely for the sentimental value to an old Naval warrior.

All in fine condition with great Historical significance and connection, ready to display and research further!

Specifications (Naval Pistol): 

Year of Manufacture: circa 1775
Caliber: about .57"
Ammunition Type: Lead Ball & Powder
Barrel Length: 12 inches
Overall Length: 19 1/2 inches
Action: Flintlock Side Action
Feed System: Muzzle-Loaded

Specifications (Pair of Blunderbuss Pistols): 

Year of Manufacture: circa 1800
Caliber: Blunderbuss Swamped Pistol Barrel
Ammunition Type: Lead Ball & Powder
Barrel Length: 3 1/2 inches
Overall Length: 8 1/2 inches
Action: Flintlock Top Action
Feed System: Muzzle-Loaded

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