Object Title

4 pr swivel gun - Mosquito

4 pr swivel gun - Mosquito

Date

1500-1599

Object Number

XIX.318

Provenance

Acquired with XIX.319, XIX.320, June 1982, from Receiver of Wrecks, Teignmouth, Devon.

Physical Description

The barrel is of cast bronze, divided into two fields. The muzzle has plain flat mouldings and is not flared. The chase is decorated with ten masks with scrolls, arranged alternatively in pairs and singly. The reinforce ring with ogee moulding is plain. The first reinforce is decorated with four lion-head masks, arranged singly and paired. The breech has flat, plain rectangular wings or lugs, to hold the iron breech. The weight 173 (in Venetian pounds) is marked on the base ring.
The open breech of wrought iron is shrunk over the barrel and is pierced to take the barrel's lugs. There is a bar below to support the powder chambers. At the rear is a long 'tiller' with globular end and the remains of the chain for the wedge.
The wedge is made of wrought iron. It is flared at the ends and has a hoop to take the chain of which one s-shaped link has survived.
The powder chambers are also of wrought iron with a rectangular handle and neck to fit the barrel

Dimensions

Dimensions: Length barrel: 47 in (119 mm), length breech: 21.5 in (545 mm), length tiller: 14 in (360 mm), overall length: 75.5 in (1920 mm), height swivel: 14 in (355 mm), length of powder chamber: 11 in (280 mm) Weight: 173 Venetian pounds

Component parts

Firearms/Artillery

Serial Number nvn

Calibre

3.6 in _ (80 mm)

Associations

Places Venice

Notes

The gun was found at Church Rocks, Teignmouth, Devon with XIX.319 and 320, fully loaded with stone ball and powder by the Burtons. The wreck is thought to be that of a Venetian Galley (Country Life, April 1, 1982, p.889).
It appears to be a 'Musquito de Braga' or 'Petriero a Braga', the Venetian term for a breech-loading swivel gun. In a General Treatise of Artillery by Tonaso Moretti (translated by Sir Jonas Moore, London 1683) the author describes the Petriero a Braga as follows:
The 'Petrieros a Braga' have their Chambers separated, is called the 'Mascolo, Servitore and Corvetta', and so they are loaded behind; they are serviceable upon Gallies, Vessels, Towers, and so other narrow places, where the Peece cannot reverse; they are either of beaten iron or brass, also the 'Servitory' or 'Mascoli'; the 'Braga' is of iron. They carry a ball of stone from 2 to 14L and no more....Betwixt the trunnions and the end in the middle, are place two Wings, for fasten the 'Braga' for every 'Petriero de Braga' their should be three 'Mascole'. The 'Braga' is of iron, fastened straight to the wings. It is prolonged within that it may be capable of the length of the 'Mascolo' and its Coine (chain) behind, which makes it firm; and in the end hath a long trail or train, with its button or pommel and serves the manage the 'Petriero': cross the 'Braga' underneath is a place to sustain the 'Mascolo'. The Wedge is of iron (p.37.8).
The 'Petrieroes de Braga' carry the same charge as the others. The powder is put into the 'Mascolo' or chambers and is closely shut up with a Tampion and a shot put into the chase with a wadd before and behind and the 'Mascolo' is fitted into the 'Braga' and closed with a coin or iron behind.(p.70).
Fig 8 is a drawing of A brass basis or 'Peterira a Braga' which corresponds closely with XIX.318 down to the shape of the chained wedge.
In all, three swivel guns, two minions and one saker were found. The swivel guns are identical to each other and the other three are all marked SA, suggesting they were made by the Alberghetti gunfounders of Venice. At present one of the other swivel guns is in the Teignmouth Museum, Devon. Other stone shot of this calibre has also been found.
J.R. Hale in 'Men and Warfare': The fighting potential of sixteenth century Venetia Galley's in 'War and Society. A Yearbook of Military History', ed B Bond, 1975, lists the different weapons aboard Light and Great Gallerys of the Venetian Republic from 1570 1603. The lists for Light Gallery's of 1570 includes 36 muskets ' de Braga' although later lists (with Periers substituted for muskets) they are reduced to between 14 and 18. He also mentions contemporary debate over the substitution of breechloaders for muzzleloaders because the gave the gunners less occasion for exposing themselves to enemy fire, (pp.5-6).