Unknown cannon barrel

Can you help?

By Geoffrey Cordingley

These three photographs are of a cannon barrel found in the grounds of Duncombe School, Bengeo.  Can anyone throw any light on what type of cannon it might come from or supply any other useful information related to it?

To see a larger image double click on the appropriate photograph.

This page was added on 25/06/2013.

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  • having been trying to find out about this I contacted a gentleman who has done a lot of research on real and “fake” cannons used as post and his reply is here. Its a shame it is not a real cannon or it might have had a real significance. I suspect it was put there as a fence or gate post by Mr Gripper who built the house in 1868 as he was a captain in the local “territorials” of the time called the militia I think. “I am sure that the thing is a commercial bollard and not a real cannon. The muzzle looks OK – but it is unusual to have it ‘open’ and not closed by a real or imitation cannon-ball jammed in. The ‘swell’ of the muzzle is too great for an English gun, but a few foreign cannon might have had such a muzzle. However, the ‘reinforcing rings’ (technically called astragals) around the ‘barrel’ are too exaggerated to be a real gun. The real giveaway is in the right-hand photo: at the bottom one can make out a square-section base, characteristic of commercial bollards. Furthermore, there seems to be no sign of trunnions – the short stub-axles that attached a cannon-barrel to its carriage and allowed the barrel to rock up or down to alter the range. I think that this thing must have been a post or railing at some time. Maybe it had chains to mark off some boundary? There seem to be little rings half way down the bollard, visible in the middle photo. At one time there used to be hundreds of obsolete muzzle-loader smooth-bore cannon barrels around, reused as bollards. Very many of them disappeared during the “scrap for victory” drive in the 1939-45 war, and others were cleared away as scrap metal by property developers in the post-war years. It’s a pity, but real cannon-bollards are rather rare now, and ought to be recognised and preserved by our civic authorites.”

    By Marilyn Taylor (13/07/2013)