Object Title

Wheellock breech-loading gun

Wheellock breech-loading gun



Object Number



Old Tower Collection. Formerly Class XII.3 (1909-1916, The 1909 Dillon inventory system). Formerly Class XII.3 (1857-1909, The Old War Office inventory system otherwise known as the Hewitt system.)

Physical Description

The wheel-lock missing. Of considerable size and weight it is probably intended to be fired from some form of support or rest. Barrel of round section heavily fluted at breech and muzzle the latter being slightly flared externally and carrying a fore-sight. The breech-action is similar to that of no.XII.1 the breech-block in this instance being locked and released by a spring catch operated by a sliding lever mounted on the breech-strap, the lever being bored longitudinally to act as a back-sight. A steel cartridge is preserved with the gun. Stock with almost straight butt just long enough to reach the shoulder. On the right side is fitted a heavy steel lug the purpose of which is uncertain. The stock is carved with narrow, recessed panels framed by mouldings. On the left side opposite the lock is a Tudor Rose and on either side of the fore-end a fleur-de-lys. The fore-end finishes five inches from the muzzle and does not appear to have been shortened. Ramrod missing. There is a projection carved with acanthus foliage on the underside of the stock just forward of the place where the trigger-guard, which is missing, was attached probably intended as a grip for the left hand. The lock as stated above is missing


Dimensions: Overall length: 57.1 in (1450 mm), Barrel length: 43.5 in (1105 mm), Weight: 18 lb. 0 oz.


Serial Number None visible


.710 in

Inscriptions and Marks

A government Broad Arrow mark is stamped twice on the stock inside the lock-space

Bibliographic References

John Hewitt, Official Catalogue of the Tower Armouries, London, 1859: p.67

Sir Sibald D. Scott, The British Army, Vol.2, London and New York, 1868, p.265, illus. (Plate XXVI)

C ffoulkes, Inventory and Survey of the Armouries of the Tower of London, London, 1916, vol.II, p.331

Graeme Rimer, Wheellock Firearms of the Royal Armouries, Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, 2001. p.15, ill.

1547 Inventory: 'Itm. One large chamber piece with a fier- locke sett in walnuttree.

1691 Inventory: '(Valuation.) 20's, said to have been King henry Eighths fowling piece.

G Rimer, T Richardson and J P D Cooper, Henry VIII: arms and the man, Leeds, 2009,


This gun may be one of the two 'large chamber peces set in Stockes of Walnuttree with fier locks' mentioned in the 1547 inventory. RC2: Permission to lend required from the sovereign.