|Photo: Catherine Ann Kelly of Harbour Main (left), and |
Maryssa Barras from HeritageNL (right) inspect the cannon, 25 November 2020
In order to find the story behind the cannon, we first need to figure out what type of cannon it is and when it dates to. By measuring key parts of the cannon and taking photos of visible features on the cannon we were able to compare our cannon with others to determine its calibre and likely dates of use.
There are a few key features that helped guide us in identifying the cannon. First, the cannon measures approximately 230cm, or 7½ft, long and the bore (the tube for the cannonball) measures 11cm, or 4.3in, in diameter. Based on these dimensions we can determine that this cannon is likely a 9lb gun - with 9lb referring to the caliber of the cannonballs it would have shot.
|Photo: A close-up image of a broken trunnion on the cannon, |
as well as the chase astragal, the iron band to the right of the photo.
In terms of shape, the cannon has a tulip-shaped muzzle and a spherical button at its breech (back) end. Spaced across the cannon as well are raised bumps, called reinforce rings. Notably, this cannon has an extra ring in its center called a chase astragal which largely fell out of use after circa 1810. Based on these, and other, details, we believe the Harbour Main cannon is most likely an Armstrong-Frederick pattern cannon, which was the primary British model produced between 1760/4 and 1792. This means the cannon was likely produced sometime in that time period, and that its arrival in Harbour Main must date to after 1760-1764.
|Photo: Diagram of Armstrong Pattern 9 lb gun of 7 1/2 feet, |
courtesy of Dr. A.R. Collins.
Heritage NL is following up with these findings with the Town of Harbour Main-Chapel’s Cove-Lakeview Heritage Committee. We'll post more info as the story unfolds. The cannon is an archaeological object as defined under the Historic Resources Act, and so the Province has title to it as per section 11 of the Act.
UPDATE: 1 December 2020
Our preliminary report on the Harbour Main cannon site is now up online! We've tentatively dated the cannon to the early 1760s. Read more at: