Boy unearths English Civil War cannonball

english civil war cannonball

An English schoolboy digging a hole in his family’s yard unearthed an eight-pound cannonball dating back more than 350 years to the English Civil War.

Jack Sinclair, 10, of Southwell, Nottinghamshire, continued tunneling after his father had dug down to remove a tree root and the lad came across what he at first thought was a rock.

Further work revealed that it was bigger and denser, and when Jack pulled it from the ground he had a heavy, rusty, muddy lump.

“His mother was concerned that it might be an unexploded bomb from World War II, but when they cleaned off the dirt, they saw it was an iron cannonball,” according to The History Blog.

Jack’s grandfather researched the artifact and took it to the nearby Museum Resource Centre in Newark, where experts verified with 90 percent certainty that it is a 17th century cannonball used during the English Civil War.

Its weight and dimensions suggest it was shot from a saker cannon, a medium-caliber long-range cannon widely used in the early 16th century and 17th century, according to The History Blog.

The find strengthens Southwell’s strong links with the 1642-51 conflict.

It is known that mercenaries from Scotland, who had been recruited by anti-Royalist Parliamentarians, were based in the town, and King Charles I reportedly spent his last night of freedom at a pub in Southwell called the King’s Arms before surrendering to the Scots on Kelham Bridge, according to the Newark Advertiser.

A 17th century Spanish saker cannon.

A 17th century Spanish saker cannon.

Southwell had a rough go of it following Charles I’s surrender.

The Roundheads used the Archbishop’s Palace as a stable for their horses, looted graves, damaged the church and generally trashed the place, according to The History Blog.

The pub that Charles stayed in is still standing, though it is now called the Saracen’s Head Hotel. Visitors can stay in the King Charles Suite where he slept.

Legend has it that Roundhead leader Oliver Cromwell himself made a point of staying in the King’s Arms in the very suite Charles had slept in the night before his surrender, the blog added.

(Top: Jack Sinclair of Southwell, Nottinghamshire, shows off the English Civil War cannonball he uncovered. Photo credit: Nottingham Post.)

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5 thoughts on “Boy unearths English Civil War cannonball

    • Pretty amazing, isn’t it? And now the kid will have built-in excuse every time he comes home covered in dirt: “But Mom, I was looking for historical artifacts. Don’t you want me to learn more about our past?”

      • Oh! the roots! Aaaargh!! We were digging well away from trees over the weekend but there were still roots getting in the way….
        (And big underground dwelling spiders. *shudder*)

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