Captain Hardy’s Trafalgar Watch

In 2024, almost twenty years after I handled the sale of the gold pocket watch worn by Admiral Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar (see Nelson’s Watch), I sold the watch carried on that same fateful day by Nelson’s faithful flag captain and friend Thomas Masterman Hardy.

Captain Hardy’s Trafalgar Watch


The watch he wore while he held the dying Nelson in his arms

A.M. Broadley & R.G. Bartelot, 1909.

English, 18th century. Gilt full plate key wind cylinder escapement, plain three-arm balance, pierced and engraved balance cock, silver regulation, diamond end stone, white enamel dial, black Roman numeral hour markers, black outer minute track with Arabic numeral five minute markers, blued steeled hands; yellow gold pair case, hallmarked London 1755, polished inner and outer. Signed Robert Holland, London, and numbered 362; with old paper exhibition label stating watch worn by capt hardy of trafalgar. Diameter: 49mm.


Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy (1769-1839), of Portesham House, Dorset. Admiral Lord Nelson’s flag captain in HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.

His sister Catherine Hardy (1762-1854) of Portesham House, Dorset.

Her grandson William Manfield (1832-1892) of Portesham House, Dorset.

His son William Hardy Manfield (1859-1937) of Portesham House, Dorset.

Sale of his Estate, Henry Duke & Son, Portesham House, Dorset, 17th June 1938, Lot 130: ‛Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy’s watch’ (where chatelaine sold as the succeeding lot).

Private Collection UK.


2 May-24 October 1891:  Royal Naval Exhibition, Chelsea, Cat. No. 3000, where exhibited alongside the chronometer worn by Nelson at Trafalgar:

24-29 July 1905:  Dorchester and the Navy, Dorchester County Museum.

June 1933:  Loan Exhibition of Historical Treasures from Six Counties, Wilton House, Salisbury.



‘Dorchester and the Navy. An interesting and important local exhibition in connection with the coming Trafalgar Centenary’, The King, 29 July 1905

A.M. Broadley & R.G. Bartelot, The Three Dorset Captains at Trafalgar, London, 1906, p. 60.

A.M. Broadley & R.G. Bartelot, Nelson’s Hardy His Life Letters and Friends, London, 1909, p. xiv.,  ill. opp. p.142.


This watch belonged to Captain Thomas Masterman Hardy and was carried by him at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. Hardy was also present at the battles of the Nile and Copenhagen. Following his death in 1831, the watch descended in the family of Hardy’s brother-in-law John Callard Manfield, married to his sister Catherine Hardy, with whom Hardy had been especially close. The Manfields’ son, also John, entered the Royal Navy on Hardy’s patronage and, as a midshipman in Ambuscade, dined in Victory with his uncle and Lord Nelson before Trafalgar.  In 1891, Hardy’s Trafalgar watch was displayed at the Royal Naval Exhibition, Chelsea alongside the gold chronometer watch carried by Nelson at the battle.