|Place of origin||Mons, Hainault, Wallonia|
|Used by|| Kingdom of Scotland |
• Royal Scots Navy
|Barrel length||280 cm|
|Diameter||20 inches (510 mm)|
|Shell weight||175 kg|
Mons Meg is a medieval bombard in the collection of the Royal Armouries, but on loan to Historic Scotland and located at Edinburgh Castle in Scotland. 20 inches (510 mm) making it one of the largest cannons in the world by calibre.It has a barrel diameter of
Mons Meg was built in 1449 on the orders of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy and sent by him as a gift to James II, King of Scots, in 1454. The bombard was employed in sieges until the middle of the 16th century, after which it was only fired on ceremonial occasions. On one such occasion in 1680 the barrel burst, rendering Mons Meg unusable. The gun remained in Edinburgh Castle until 1754 when, along with other unused weapons in Scotland, it was taken to the Tower of London. Sir Walter Scott and others campaigned for its return, which was effected in 1829. Mons Meg has since been restored, and is now on display within the castle.
The bombard was manufactured from longitudinal bars of iron, hooped with rings fused into one mass. 19 inches (480 mm), one of the highest ever built, weighs 15,366 pounds (6,970 kg) and is 13 feet (4.0 m) in length.The barrel is attached to the powder chamber by means of a groove on the powder chamber into which lugs on the end of the barrel staves fit, and then bound permanently together by the hoops. The powder chamber itself is made from small pieces of iron hammer-welded together to make a solid wrought-iron forging. Mons Meg has a diameter of
Mons Meg was constructed by Jehan Cambier, artillery maker to the Duke of Burgundy, and it was successfully tested at Mons in the County of Hainault in what is now Belgium, in June 1449; however, the Duke did not take delivery of the Mons Meg until 1453. The Duke gifted the bombard to Scotland's King James II in 1457 as a sign of his support for the Scottish King whose marriage he had helped negotiate.Additionally, an alternative legend about its manufacture is that it was built by a local blacksmith for the siege of Threave Castle in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. According to this tale, which was lent credence by Sir Walter Scott, when King James arrived at Threave to besiege the Earl of Douglas, the Clan MacLellan presented him with this bombard. The first shot fired is said to have passed clean through the castle, severing the hand of Margaret, Countess of Douglas, on the way. The gun was subsequently named after "Mollance", the lands gifted to the blacksmith for his service, and "Meg", the name of his wife. Later historians have not taken this legend particularly seriously, not least because of the improbability that such a weapon could be forged by a village smith as well as there being ample provenance showing its actual history.
The 20 inches (510 mm) diameter cannon accepted stone balls that weighed 175 kilograms (386 lb). In April 1497, John Mawer elder, one of the castle gunners made new wheels for Mons Meg and the bombards. The cannon was drawn down the Royal Mile to the sound of minstrels playing, and placed on a new carriage or "cradle", and taken to assault Norham Castle in August 1497. In early years the gun, like the other royal cannon, was painted with red lead to keep it from rusting. This cost 30 shillings in June 1539. From the 1540s Meg was retired from active service and was fired only on ceremonial occasions from Edinburgh Castle. When it was fired on 3 July 1558, soldiers were paid to find and retrieve the shot from Wardie Muir, near the Firth of Forth, a distance of two miles. The salute marked the solemnisation of the marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots, to the French Dauphin.
The gun was fired on 30 October 1680to celebrate a visit by James, Duke of Albany and York, later King James VII, but the barrel burst. An English cannoneer had loaded the charge and many Scots believed that the damage was done on purpose out of jealousy, because the English had no cannon as big as this. The incident was also seen as a bad omen for the future King.
The cannon was left outside Foog's Gate at Edinburgh Castle. It was next taken, with other disused ordnance, to the Tower of London in 1754, as a result of the disarming acts against Jacobites aimed at removing weapons or spare cannon from the reach of rebellious folk.It was returned to the Castle in 1829 by order of George IV after a series of campaigns by Sir Walter Scott and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Following a restoration, it now sits outside St Margaret's Chapel. During the Edinburgh's annual Hogmanay celebrations Mons Meg is fired at the start of the firework display, although the effect is largely theatrical and the gun is not discharged.
"Mons Meg was a large old-fashioned piece of ordnance, a great favourite with the Scottish common people; she was fabricated at Mons in Flanders, in the reign of James IV. or V. of Scotland. This gun figures frequently in the public accounts of the time, where we find charges for grease, to grease Meg's mouth withal (to increase, as every schoolboy knows, the loudness of the report), ribands to deck her carriage, and pipes to play before her when she was brought from the Castle to accompany the Scottish army on any distant expedition. After the Union, there was much popular apprehension that the Regalia of Scotland, and the subordinate Palladium, Mons Meg, would be carried to England to complete the odious surrender of national independence. The Regalia, sequestered from the sight of the public, were generally supposed to have been abstracted in this manner. As for Mons Meg, she remained in the Castle of Edinburgh, till, by order of the Board of Ordnance, she was actually removed to Woolwich about 1757. The Regalia, by his Majesty's special command, have been brought forth from their place of concealment in 1818, and exposed to the view of the people, by whom they must be looked upon with deep associations; and, in this very winter of 1828–9, Mons Meg has been restored to the country, where that, which in every other place or situation was a mere mass of rusty iron, becomes once more a curious monument of antiquity" Notes to Rob Roy , Sir Walter Scott.
The gun is not called "Mons Meg" in any contemporary references until 1678. In 1489, she first appears in record as "Monss",and in the painter's account of 1539 she is called; "Monce in the castell," the only piece with an individual name. In 1650 she was noted as "Muckle Meg." "Meg" may either be a reference to Margaret of Denmark, Queen of James III of Scotland, or simply an alliteration, while Mons was one of the locations where the cannon was originally tested. McKenzie records that this class of artillery was known as a murderer and Mons Meg was certainly described as such. Mons Meg was made in the town of Mons (now the Walloon French-speaking part of Belgium) or Bergen (in Flemish Dutch as in those days it was part of Flanders). Three cannons were founded: one resides now in Edinburgh, one in the Flemish town of Ghent at the Friday Market and one was in France but disappeared ages ago. The one in Ghent can be visited today, undamaged. The cannon is named "Dulle Griet" which translates into "Mad Meg".
For a while in its early days the Mons sat on a plain box without any wheels. Evidently, when Mons Meg was removed from Edinburgh Castle in 1754, her carriage had long since rotted away. A contemporary account describes her as lying "on the ground" near the innermost gate to the castle.Presumably the Ordnance Board fabricated a new carriage after her arrival at the Tower. In 1835, after the return of Mons Meg to Edinburgh Castle, the London-made carriage rotted away, too, and fabrication of a cast-iron replacement was undertaken. Mons Meg is now mounted on a reproduction of the carriage depicted in a carving of circa 1500 on a wall of Edinburgh Castle, built in 1934 at a cost of £178 and paid for by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh.
Edinburgh Castle is a historic castle in Edinburgh, Scotland. It stands on Castle Rock, which has been occupied by humans since at least the Iron Age, although the nature of the early settlement is unclear. There has been a royal castle on the rock since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century, and the site continued at times to be a royal residence until 1633. From the 15th century, the castle's residential role declined, and by the 17th century it was principally used as military barracks with a large garrison. Its importance as a part of Scotland's national heritage was recognised increasingly from the early 19th century onwards, and various restoration programmes have been carried out over the past century and a half.
Broughty Castle is a historic castle on the banks of the river Tay in Broughty Ferry, Dundee, Scotland. It was completed around 1495, although the site was earlier fortified in 1454 when George Douglas, 4th Earl of Angus received permission to build on the site. His son Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Angus was coerced into ceding the castle to the crown. The main tower house forming the centre of the castle with four floors was built by Andrew, 2nd Lord Gray who was granted the castle in 1490.
The Battle of Pinkie, also known as the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, took place on 10 September 1547 on the banks of the River Esk near Musselburgh, Scotland. The last pitched battle between Scotland and England before the Union of the Crowns, it was part of the conflict known as the Rough Wooing and is considered to have been the first modern battle in the British Isles. It was a catastrophic defeat for Scotland, where it became known as "Black Saturday". A highly detailed and illustrated English account of the battle and campaign authored by an eyewitness William Patten was published in London as propaganda four months after the battle.
Crookston Castle is a ruined medieval castle in the Pollok area of Glasgow, Scotland. It is located some 5 miles (8 km) south-west of the city centre, on a hill overlooking the Levern Water, just before its confluence with the White Cart Water. Crookston Castle was built by the Stewarts of Darnley around 1400, and is set within earthworks constructed in the 12th century. Once the property of the Earls and Dukes of Lennox, the castle was extensively repaired following a siege in 1544, and it is the only surviving medieval castle in Glasgow.
Naval artillery is artillery mounted on a warship, originally used only for naval warfare and then subsequently used for shore bombardment and anti-aircraft roles. The term generally refers to tube-launched projectile-firing weapons and excludes self-propelled projectiles such as torpedoes, rockets, and missiles and those simply dropped overboard such as depth charges and naval mines.
Dunglass is a hamlet in East Lothian, Scotland, lying east of the Lammermuir Hills on the North Sea coast, within the parish of Oldhamstocks. It has a 15th-century collegiate church, now in the care of Historic Scotland. Dunglass is the birthplace of Sir James Hall, an 18th-century Scottish geologist and geophysicist. The name Dunglass comes from the Brittonic for "grey-green hill".
Dumbarton Castle has the longest recorded history of any stronghold in Scotland. It overlooks the Scottish town of Dumbarton, and sits on a plug of volcanic basalt known as Dumbarton Rock which is 240 feet (73 m) high.
A culverin was a relatively simple ancestor of the musket, and later a medieval cannon, adapted for use by the French as the "couleuvrine" in the 15th century, and later adapted for naval use by the English in the late 16th century. The culverin was used to bombard targets from a distance. The weapon had a relatively long barrel and a light construction. The culverin fired solid round shot projectiles with a high muzzle velocity, producing a relatively long range and flat trajectory. Round shot refers to the classic solid spherical cannonball.
Threave Castle is situated on an island in the River Dee, 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) west of Castle Douglas in the historical county of Kirkcudbrightshire in the Dumfries and Galloway region of Scotland.
Dunbar Castle was one of the strongest fortresses in Scotland, situated in a prominent position overlooking the harbour of the town of Dunbar, in East Lothian. Several fortifications were built successively on the site, near the English-Scottish border. The last was slighted in 1567; it is a ruin today.
The bombard is a type of cannon or mortar which was used throughout the Middle Ages and the early modern period. Bombards were mainly large calibre, muzzle-loading artillery pieces used during sieges to shoot round stone projectiles at the walls of enemy fortifications, enabling troops to break in. Most bombards were made of iron and used gunpowder to launch the projectiles. There are many examples of bombards, including Mons Meg, the Dardanelles Gun, and the handheld bombard.
Hume Castle is the heavily modified remnants of a late 12th- or early 13th-century castle of enceinte held by the powerful Hume or Home family, Wardens of the Eastern March who became successively the Lords Home and the Earls of Home. The village of Hume is located between Greenlaw and Kelso, two miles north of the village of Stichill, in Berwickshire, Scotland.. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, recorded as such by Historic Environment Scotland.
The RML 64-pounder 71 cwt guns (converted) were British rifled muzzle-loading guns converted from obsolete smoothbore 8-inch 65 cwt shell guns in the 1860s-1870s.
The 68-pounder cannon was an artillery piece designed and used by the British Armed Forces in the mid-19th century. The cannon was a smoothbore muzzle-loading gun manufactured in several weights, the most common being 95 long cwt (4,800 kg), and fired projectiles of 68 lb (31 kg). Colonel William Dundas designed the 112 cwt version in 1841 and it was cast the following year. The most common variant, weighing 95 cwt, dates from 1846. It entered service with the Royal Artillery and the Royal Navy and saw active service with both arms during the Crimean War. Over 2,000 were made and it gained a reputation as the finest smoothbore cannon ever made.
John Drummond of Milnab was a 16th-century Scottish carpenter in charge of the woodwork of the palaces, castles and guns of James IV of Scotland and James V of Scotland.
The Inventory of Henry VIII compiled in 1547 is a list of the possessions of the crown, now in the British Library as Harley MS 1419.
Andrew Mansioun, or Mentioun or Manschone or Manson, was a French artist who worked at the court of James V, King of Scots. He was the master carpenter of the Scottish artillery for Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI of Scotland.
The RML 64-pounder 58 cwt guns (converted) were British rifled muzzle-loading guns converted from obsolete smoothbore 32-pounder 58 cwt guns.
Andrew Aytoun, was a Scottish soldier and engineer, and captain of Stirling Castle.
The Boxted Bombard is a 15th-century cannon from England. The bombard is medium in size for its type, its military use is unknown due to a lack of historical records. For a long time unlocated, the piece was rediscovered for the public at the village of Boxted in the 1970s and is now on display at the artillery collection at Fort Nelson.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mons Meg .|