A flintlock pistol, used to deter highwayman from attacking coaches in Somerset, has been discovered while clearing a storeroom at a Weston-super-Mare coach company.
The Thomas flintlock pistol was discovered among old files and awards in a room that was once used as a Chapel of Rest when Bakers Dolphin also carried out funeral transport.
Marketing director Amanda Harrington said: “The old Chapel of Rest has been used as a storeroom for many years. The pistol was mounted on a board with a note saying it had been used by coachmen around 1895.
“We believe the pistol may be much older than that and would be interested to hear from anyone who knows more about the history of firearms.
“It was mounted in a display case and we believe at one time was on the wall in the offices. It must have been put into store at some point with other items and had been overlooked.”
Bakers Dolphin has a history dating back to 1889 when Charles Theodore Baker borrowed £25 from his elder brother and set up business in Weston-super-Mare with a pony chair for hire. He was just 21 years old.
He provided a transport service to local doctors and residents and the business expanded. He tendered for – and won – Royal Mail contracts to deliver the post by horse-and-cab on a twice daily Cheddar Valley service from Weston-super-Mare.
Records show that the Royal Mail contract required coachmen to carry firearms as the service was in danger of being waylaid by highwayman as it went through the Somerset lanes.
The gun is to put on display for people to view, the company said.