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Object Title

Gun - British, 68-pounder, smooth bore and carriage

Gun - British, 68-pounder, smooth bore and carriage


about 1790

Object Number



Unknown. The carriage was renewed after its destruction in the Grand Storehouse fire 1841 and has been extensively repaired since.

Physical Description

The gun has an extensive cascable with three substantial mouldings in between a fillet adjacent to the base ring and a fillet at the base of an elongated button. This is surmounted by a Blomefield pattern breeching loop and is pierced and threaded for the elevating screw. Fitted to the extremity of the button by means of a collar are two iron handles curved towards the muzzle. On the largest cascable moulding is a vent patch that crosses the fillet. There is an ogee on the muzzle side of the base ring. The reinforce has on its lower surface a heavy pierced loop straddling the reinforce ring and ogee through which a bolt passes securing it to two corresponding loops of the mounting. There is also a chase and three sets of muzzle mouldings upon which is the prominent foresight.
The carriage is a wooden block trail with two iron trucks. There is no elevating gear.





BarrelLength51 in
BarrelLength79 in
BarrelLength1295 mm
BarrelLength2007 mm
BarrelWeight1572.5 kg
BarrelWeight3334 lb
CarriageLength84 in
CarriageLength2134 mm
BoreWidth8.05 in
BoreWidth206 mm


Serial Number None visible


206 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

30 - 3 - 23
Broad Arrow
Crest and motto
John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore (1732-1809)
In relief

Bibliographic References

H.L.Blackmore, The Armouries of the Tower of London, Ordnance Catalogue, H.M.S.O. London 1976,P.145.


The carronade, so called from the first examples being manufactured by the Carron Iron Company at Falkirk in Scotland, was short and light in relation to the calibre. The design is usually attributed to Charles Gascoigne, manager of the Carron Company which produced the first guns in 1779.
Other claimants are, however, Generald Robert Melville and Patrick Miller, an Edinburgh banker, both of whom were certainly associated with the development of the guns. c.f. XIX.235 and 236.
John Earl of Dunmore, was Governor of New York 1769-70 and later of Virginia 1770-75. From 1787 he was Governor of the Bahamas and the carronade was possibly cast for the defence of the islands during his term of office. He appears to have had an interest in the Carron Company and in 1779 was responsible for influencing the King to order a trial at Woolwich of the newly-designed carronades.
The Carron Company was founded in 1759 as a partnership of seven men, being known initially as Roebuck, Garbett and Cadell after the names of the three progenitors, the Englishmen John Roebuck and Samuel Garbett and the Scot William Cadell. The factory was built on the banks of the river Carron near Falkirk, Scotland. From the outset a variety of domestic articles was made; pots and pans, stoves, grates, pipes, railings nails, etc. In 1761 the Company began to experiment with cast-iron cannon but the first batches supplied to the Board of Ordnance were failures, a high proportion being rejected in proof. In 1773 the Ordnance cancelled its contracts and all Carron guns were removed from H.M. ships. The Company was forced to adopt new methods of casting and boring. These were successful and the quick adoption of the carronade in 1779 as a popular government and private armament brought prosperity back to the firm. After the American War it continued to make guns for the East India Company and for overseas customers including foreign governments. During the Napoleonic Wars it became the foremost iron foundry in the country. Amongst the interesting items which it helped to develop and subsequently made in large quantities were the shells invented by Henry Shrapnell. The Company continues today as iron founders and engineers (Campbell, 72-103, 219-22). The domestic items it makes in 2020 are kitchen taps, sinks and drainers.

Image of Gun - British, 68-pounder, smooth bore and carriage Carronade
Image of Gun - British, 68-pounder, smooth bore and carriage Carronade
Image of Gun - British, 68-pounder, smooth bore and carriage Carronade