Object Title

13 in mortar and bed

13 in mortar and bed



Object Number



Transferred from H.M.S. Rosneath, Dumbarton, Scotland 1948.

Physical Description

Probably for sea service. The reinforce bears in relief the royal arms and the chase the arms of John, 2nd Duke of Argyll, General of the Ordnance, 1725-40. At the base of the breech are the name of the founder and the date, SCHALCH FECIT 1726, above which is engraved the weight 81-2-24; immediately above again is roughly incised the mark or number X over V. A large flattened pan projects below the vent, the under side being ornamented with a satyr's mask; on the upper surface are stamped the numbers 26919 and 33952. There are naturalistic dolphins. On the under side, in the region of the reinforce ring, there is a projecting shoulder probably intended to engage with the quoin and there is also a smaller shoulder further back at the breech ring.

This is constructed of two wooden brackets joined by transoms the brackets are secured by two long bolts running from side to side. The ends of the bolts, which project on the outside of the brackets, form lugs for traversing and running up. The metalwork and part of the woodwork of this bed are old though whether they are contemporary with the mortar or not is a matter of conjecture. Mortars of conventional design such as this were usually mounted on solid beds, not on beds of open construction. The authenticity of the entire bed is therefore open to question


Dimensions: Length: 63 in (160 cm), Bed length: 104 in (264.2cm), Bed width: 46.5 in (118.1 cm) Weight: 81 cwt 2 qtr 24 lb (4151 kg)


Serial Number 26919 or 33952 (?)


13.1 in (33.3 cm)


Places England

Bibliographic References

H.L.Blackmore, The Armouries of the Tower of London, Ordnance Catalogue, H.M.S.O. London 1976, no.102 p.97-98.


In June 1726 a '13inch Brass Sea Mortar' was proved at Woolwich, William Ogborne, the Master Carpenter, supplying an elm bed and quoin. No.102 and a very similar mortar in the Rotunda Museum, Woolwich, No.II. 33, may have been intended for the Solebay and Thunder bomb vessels then being fitted out (W.O.51/118-120). Both vessels were active in the Siege of Gibralter, 1727 and the Thunder's 13in mortar was apparently landed for the garrison's defence. It was returned to England in 1728 (ADM 1/4007).

'Andrew Schalch'
1692-1776; born at Schaffhausen, Switzerland. He was trained at the foundry at Douai where he worked for several years. Appointed first Master Founder at the Royal Brass Foundry at Woolwich in 1716. Retired from office in 1770 when he was succeeded by the Verbruggen.
Armouries: XIX.42, 48 and 196.
Rotunda: II.33, 38A, 39, 40, 46 and 47.
Powell Cotton Museum, Quex Park, Lisbon, S37, S42.