Object Title

18.5 in mortar and bed

18.5 in mortar and bed



Object Number



Old Tower Collection

Physical Description

Of large size, with dolphins and with the trunnions placed at the reinforce. The chase is engraved with the addorsed monogram of William III and Mary II surmounted by a crown, the breech being inscribed GULIELMUS ET MARIA MAG BRIT FRAN ET HIB REX ET REGINA ANNO REGNI QUARTO BY THE Rt HONble Sr HENRY GOODRICKe KNt & BARt LIEUt GENl AND THE REST OF THE PRINCIPl OFFICERS OF THEIR MAJties ORDNANCE. The base ring is incised with the weight 66-2-4. There is a lifting loop at the upper edge of the cascabel. The edge of the priming pan is damaged

The mortar retained the original bed until the Grand Storehouse Fire of 1841, when the woodwork was entirely consumed. The iron work is partly original, the wood being a restoration. There are fittings on the upper edge of the brackets which indicate that an elevating gear was formerly fitted


Dimensions: Length: 4 ft 2 in (50 in) (1270 mm), Diameter chamber: 8.25 in (266 mm); Height: 1650 mm; width: 1215 mm; depth: 3440 mm Weight: 66 cwt 2 qtr 4 lb (3380 kg)


Serial Number None visible


18.5 in _ (47.2 cm)


Places England

Bibliographic References

H.L.Blackmore, The Armouries of the Tower of London, Ordnance Catalogue, H.M.S.O. London 1976, p.95.


This may have been one of mortars used in the experiments which took place on 6 May 1693 and were described by N. Luttrell (Historical Relations(O.U.P. 1857), III, 28): ' Divers of the nobility and gentry were present at the experiment of the 6 mortars of 70 hundred weight a peice, 18 inch and halfe it....' By tradition it was used at the Siege of Namur in 1695. The 1750 Guide (p.43) states that during the siege 'This Mortar was fired so often.....that the very Touch-hole is melted for Want of giving it Time to cool.' This story is repeated in subsequent guides but, in fact the actual vent passage is intact, and the damage to the pan could have been caused by a blow. Mortars of this size were known earlier. In 1657 the gunfounder Henry Quintyn of Snodland, Kent was given a contract by the Board of Ordnance to supply several mortars, including one of 18.25in bore with 'His Highness and the Commonwealth arms fairly engraved upon an embossment' (S.D. Scott, The British Army (London, 1868), II, 255). A sectional drawing of an 18.25in mortar dated 30 March 1686 and signed by Richard Leake (see No.131) is in the Armouries Archives, No.1. 70. Sir Henry Goodricke, 1642-1705, was Lieut. General of the Ordnance, 1689-1702.