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.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum Copyright
National Army Museum, Study Collection