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Bronze Saker cannon, 1530 (c).
Barrel cast 1538. Manufactured by John and Robert Owen.
The barrel of this bronze saker cannon, manufactured in London around 1530, is inscribed with a Tudor rose and a monogram of King Henry VIII. In the 16th century cannon were given the names of birds; a 'saker' was a type of hawk. The saker fired solid iron shot, weighing between 1.8 and 2.7 kg (4-6 lb). These would not explode on impact, but would bounce along the ground.
They would continue bouncing until they crashed into something - or someone. Cannon balls could smash through stone, brick, flesh and bone with ease, but might be stopped by gabions, defensive baskets filled with earth.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum, London
National Army Museum, Study collection