Medieval Hand Cannon: From Garden Ornament to Valuable Treasure

In a remarkable turn of events, a cannon that was once used as a decorative piece in a garden rockery is set to be sold for thousands of pounds. The piece was revealed to be a 600-year-old medieval hand cannon.

The bronze gunpowder weapon, originally purchased for less than £20 from a market in Hertfordshire, turned out to be a valuable historical artifact. It also has a fascinating past.

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The owner of the cannon was astounded when auctioneers identified it as a medieval hand cannon. They confirmed it dated back to the 1400s. Completely unaware of its true value, the owner had been using it as a garden ornament. However, upon closer inspection, experts recognised its historical significance and determined it to be a rare find.


The cannon will now be sold by Hansons Auctioneers on June 15. And the guide price? An amazing £2,000-£3,000, more than 200 times the price it was originally purchased for.

Hand cannons were popular on the medieval battlefield.

The origins of the cannon and how it came into the possession of the original seller remain a mystery. Soil residue found inside the cannon suggests that it may have been unearthed at some point.

Rockery Ornament

Charles Hanson, the owner of Hansons Auctioneers, expressed his astonishment at the discovery, referring to it as a “rockery rocket of a find.” He described it as a heavy, triple-ring cast cannon, which was a type of weapon commonly seen in late medieval Europe between 1400 and 1450.

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Hand cannons, similar to the one found, were originally used in China from the 13th century onward. They eventually made their way to European battlefields during the 14th and 15th centuries. The first mention of a hand-held firearm in England dates back to the early 15th century.

The cannon is said to be over 600 years old.

The piece in question is believed to have been originally mounted on wood with a powder bag and ramrod, and it later evolved into a match-lock firearm with a trigger.

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The fact that the cannon ended up as a garden decoration only adds to its intriguing story. While the true journey of the cannon may never be fully known, its transformation from a forgotten relic to a valuable artifact provides a glimpse into the rich history of medieval weaponry.


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