Object Title

6.5 in mortar

6.5 in mortar



Object Number



Said to have been found with XIX.328 in the River Stour.

Physical Description

The gun is forged in one piece from wrought iron with bands of iron shrunk over. The overall appearance is pitted and the inside is badly corroded.
It has a long powder chamber with a vent, a short 'tiller' of rectangular section, through which is a forged iron ring, which is badly corroded in one part. The barrel is larger than the chamber and the calibre is wider than the depth.
At the junction of the barrel and chamber, two bars, forged together at the ends to make two primitive trunnions, has been shrunk on, leaving no gap between the bars and the barrel. The left trunnion, which is the longer, is pierced with an iron spike. Close behind is shrunk one iron band and in front are shrunk 2 flat iron bands and one flared band, all close together


Dimensions: LENGTH: Overall: 29 in (73 cm), Tiller: 3 and 3/4 in (9.5 cm), Powder chamber (internal): 15 in (38 cm), Barrel (internal): 6 in (15 cm), WIDTH: 19 in (48 cm), Left trunnion: 6 in (15 cm), Right trunnion: 5 and 1/2 in (14 cm), Ring: 4 and 1/2 in (11 cm) approx


Serial Number None visible


6.5 in (16 cm)


Places Europe


XIX.327 and 328 are vertually identical, except in small details. They pose problems as to their date and origin since they do not resemble any guns in the collection. Before purchase both guns were subject to detailed tests at Woolwich and Fort Halstead. This showed they were made entirely from wrought iron and the same type of inclusion was found in all parts. The x-rays revealed little structure suggesting the guns were built up by either rings or coils, hammer welded together.
The shape of the trunnions are also unusual. Fully formed trunnions had already emerged no brass guns by the mid 15th century. Other examples of similar construction are,
1. Iron breech found near Harwick, dated in the first half of the 16th century, NMA Edinburgh.
2. Wrought iron gun, beginning of the 15th century, Musee de l'Armee Paris (photographs in Volkar Schmidtechen 'Bombarden, Befestigungen, Buchsenneisten.' 1977, Dusseldorf p.78).
3. Wrought iron gun 1/45. The Rotunda Museum of Artillery, whose catalogue describes it as Chinese, captured in 1860 (the above book 'Bombarden' etc., p.78, describes it as English (1430). It also has rings.
The calibre of both the guns are larger than the depth, so that the ball struck outside or the windage was quite large.
No satisfactory explanation has been suggested for the spike in the left trunnion, which appears to be an integral part of the gun. The most likely suggestion is that it is connected with elevation.