Object Title

Gun shield

Gun shield



Object Number



Tower arsenal since 1547.

Physical Description

Of circular, slightly concave form. It is constructed of thirteen steel segments, of which two are missing, as is the central boss, mounted on a wooden base to which they are secured by narrow steel strips applied over the edges of the adjoining segments. In the centre of the shield is mounted a short-barrelled, breech-loading, matchlock gun,the barrel projecting through a central boss. The match-holder is also missing although the mounting bracket remains.


Weight: 4.23 kg

Inscriptions and Marks



Places Italy

Bibliographic References

Claude Blair, European Armour, B.T. Batsford Ltd., London, 1958, p.182-3.


This shield and those similar immediately following are allthat remain from a large numnber which have been stored inthe Tower since the reign of Henry VIII.

They are mentioned in the inventory of 1547 where there were forty instore while in that of 1676 the number had risen to sixty-six. they are of exceptional interest as examples of breech-loading match-lock firearms.

The majority of these shields were formerly covered with many layers of party coloured paint which has recently been removed revealing insome cases the original decoration.