Bronze Saker cannon, 1538
Manufactured by John and Robert Owen, London, 1538.
The barrel of this bronze saker cannon 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 falcon. 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.
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National Army Museum, Study collection