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need magnetic signs - Metal Detecting in Scotland, UK » Forum » Detecting Discussions » Beach Detecting » Unique cannon found date 1641 . . .

Author Topic: Unique cannon found date 1641 . . .  (Read 3326 times)


  • Guest
Unique cannon found date 1641 . . .
« on: January 26, 2010, 11:22:31 AM »
Courtesy of BBC Online

Work is under way to restore a 17th century naval cannon which is believed to be the only one of its kind in existence. The iron weapon called a drake was recovered from the wreck of the Swan, a small Cromwellian warship which was lost off Mull while attacking Duart Castle in 1653.

The cannon is being restored by experts from the National Museums of Scotland (NMS) in Edinburgh.
The variety and quality of the finds from the wreck have led to it being nicknamed Scotland's Mary Rose. Historians say the cannon is one of the most significant underwater archaeological finds recently made in Scotland.

It was discovered by Dr Colin Martin of the University of St Andrews, who has been excavating the eroding wreck since 1992 in collaboration with NMS and Historic Scotland.

He said: "At first sight it looks like a very ordinary cannon, with two inscribed marks. One records its weight, totalling 415lbs. 

"The other consists of the letters JB set on either side of the touch-hole.

"These are the founder's initials, and are almost certainly those of John Browne, King Charles I's royal gunfounder."

Layers of dirt which has built up over hundreds of years are now being painstakingly removed from the cannon. The conservation work so far has revealed that it is probably the only iron example of this type of gun known to have survived into modern times.

NMS conservator Dr Theo Skinner said: "The Swan is a very exciting shipwreck, and there have been many amazing discoveries over the past few years.

"But this cannon is proving to be one of the most important finds so far."

In the 1620s Browne developed a completely revolutionary new type of gun, one which was much lighter for the weight of shot it fired, allowing more to be carried on the king's ships.

These stronger and lighter new guns were called drakes, and the secret of their success was a tapered end to their bores, where the pressure of the gunpowder explosion was greatest.

It increased strength at the critical point and allowed the overall weight of the gun to be drastically reduced. The cannon recovered from the Swan had a bore of 82mm and fired a 4lb shot. The Swan, built in 1641, was the last and one of the smallest ships to be built for Charles I before he was overwhelmed by the Civil War.


  • Guest
Re: Unique cannon found date 1641 . . .
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2010, 10:14:08 AM »
it was actually discoverd by some divers from the dumfries sub aqua club, but they never got any credit for it! i dived with some of the guys who found it and took artifacts home with them! they later handed them in when the significance of there find came to light!


  • Guest
Re: Unique cannon found date 1641 . . .
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2010, 10:08:53 PM »
Interesting read and good pictures :)


  • Guest
Re: Unique cannon found date 1641 . . .
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2010, 07:25:30 PM »
very good read   :) :)


  • Guest
Re: Unique cannon found date 1641 . . .
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2010, 11:53:05 AM »
Very interesting post Neil.

Theres a bit about the sinking and finding of the Swan here

Its a fairly long read, but there is some interesting stuff about the campaign behind the attack on Duart and an account of the actual sinking.


  • Guest
Re: Unique cannon found date 1641 . . .
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2010, 07:42:53 PM »
Thats a good read aswell creptis  ;D ;D ;D