Object Title

Fortress gun

Fortress gun



Object Number



Transferred from the National Maritime Museum, July 1983. Prior to its transfer this gun was on display at the Rotunda Royal Museum of Artillery, Woolwich. Previously it had been displayed in the Neptune Hall, Greenwich.

Physical Description

The smooth-bore, muzzle-loading gun is cast with 6 rings of 2 distinct types. The cascable consists of a flattened globular button and three bands of semi-circular section, alternating with three narrower bands, also of semi-circular section, the last forming the base ring. The vent has an oval bronze plate, which has been blocked. The first reinforce has two broad flat bands, with narrow borders. From the first of these bands to within two inches of the muzzle is a cast sighting line. It is interupted by the three curved band at the trunnions. These are narrower bands with a rounded profile. Six inches beyond this is the second reinforce which is plain. Beyond this are two flattened bands and at the muzzle is a last curved band. The band gets progressively narrower towards the muzzle, the first being 2 in. (5 cm) wide, the last 1.25 in. (3 cm). The muzzle is slightly belled and has mouldings. The foresight which is probably brazed on, is damaged.

The trunnions are plain except for ogee-shaped sleeves attached. The trunnions themselves are both damaged on the muzzle side.
At the breech are three small holes drilled along the left hand side of the west field, while there are two similar holes drilled on the light between the first two bands. There are at least three small '8's stamped round the muzzle.
Overall the gun is in good condition with few blemishes. It is lightly scratched with graffiti ( in English).


Dimensions: Length overall: 12ft 8 in (386 cms), Length without cascable: 11ft (335 cm) Weight: 7 tons (not checked)


Serial Number None visible


12 in (not checked because of tampion)


Places China


Its history was described by the NMM as ' In 1961 a large bronze Chinese Gun, 7 tons, 12 inch bore was acquired from the Admiralty, having been at the RN Armament Depot at Upnor Castle (Acq M61/13). The gun is a fortress gun believed to have been a trophy captured at the start of the second Chinese War 1856 from the Barner Forts below Canton, and returned to England in HMS NANKIN'.
Both Brigadier Lewendon and Guy Wilson believe the trunnion sleaves to have later addition, dating from the period of Royal Navy ownership.