Object Title

Breech-Loading Iron Gun and Bed

Breech-Loading Iron Gun and Bed



Object Number



An iron gun recovered from the Mary Rose in 1840, together with XIX.167, and purchased in the same year by the Board of Ordnance.

Physical Description

Only forty-four hoops remain entirely detached from any longitudinal bars. Only a few rusted remains of these bars survive. This means that the barrel has lost its ability to stand alone. Blackmore in 1976 described it thus: of built-up construction, being formed of flat iron bars with iron hoops passed over them and shrunk on. The iron bars forming the bore having disappeared for over half the length, leaving the hoops unsupported. The breech and an unknown length from the muzzle end are missing. One hoop with eyes for approx two rings remains, one ring being preserved.

Only part of the bed for this barrel survives. It is a heavy piece of elm with only the rear portion or that at the breech end surviving. Two channels have been cut through the wood, one at the breech end and one underneath the space occupied by the barrel. Both are around 6 cm width.A concave channel has been cut about 90 cm from the end (breech) to take the barrel and its powder chamber. At this point on the left-hand side, a vertical cut just under half way marks the end of the barrel as defined by the removable powder chamber.This concave channel is around 60 - 70 cm diameter. Within the cut channel at the breech end there is evidence of an extra square space for the vertical post which would have afforded the bed and therefore the barrel, elevation. Much of the wood that woould have supporting the barrel towrads the muzzle is missing. There are three rectangular holes on either side which probably held ringbolts. There is some crumbling wood on the units upper surfaces.


Dimensions: Present barrel length: 72 in (182.9 cm), bore 8.5 in. BED: Length right side: 74 in (188 cm), Length left side : 58 in (147.3 cm), Width max: 20.5 in (52.1 cm), Depth max: 17 in (43.2 cm)


Serial Number None visible


Approx 6 in _ (15.2 cm)

Inscriptions and Marks

On wooden bed: MREOA1954 in white paint and XIX.1 in white paint.


Bibliographic References

H.L.Blackmore, The Armouries of the Tower of London.


At the time of purchase it was with its own chamber on the original wooden bed and is apparently the gun illustrated by Sir S.D. Scott in 'The British Army' (London, 1868), II, pl.18. When ffoulkes catalogued it in 1916 it still had its 'rings for lifting; chamber and wooden bed'. Cf. No.XIX.2, 163 and 167.

Correspondence exists in the inventory files held at Fort Nelson for both the barrel and bed. These date from 1963 to 1975 and feature the City of Portsmouth Museums and Art Gallery, Howard Blackmore, the British Museum and the Royal Botanical Gardens.