The museum recently had conservation work undertaken on its 16th century wrought iron, breech loading cannon. It is the only one of its kind in Wales. ICON registered conservator Tim Martin of Context Engineering spent the week of 14 July working on this unique item.
The cannon is designed to be carried on a war ship and fired through a gun port on the side of the hull. The barrel is encircled with iron bands to withstand the ignition of gunpowder and shot. Such gun carriages were normally made of oak. This is made from the wood of the bread fruit tree. The use of tropical woods suggests that at some time the carriage was replaced in the Pacific region or that the wood had been brought to the west as cargo.
The gun is very similar to those found on Henry VIII’s flagship, Mary Rose. There are marks of the royal armoury and the gun maker’s initials carved into the gun bed. Mystery surrounds the gun’s history before its donation to the museum in the 19th century but its condition indicates it has spent a long period of time in the sea.
The gun had some conservation work in the 1970s but additional work using new practices and materials is necessary to prevent further deterioration. The project has been funded by AIM Conservation Grant supported by the Pilgrim Trust.
At some stage in the future the museum is hoping to purchase a new display case for this object. However due to financial restraints this is on hold for the time being. If anyone is interested ins sponsoring or contributing towards the acquisition of a case please do get in touch.