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Old 10th October 2014, 11:01 AM   #1
Marcus den toom
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Default A highly important tiller gun from the Montjuic castle 1430s

My latest acquisition is this tiller gun which has its origin in the Northern regions of Spain, from the Montjuic castle to be precise. It is part of a series of tiller guns, one of them in the Michael Trömner collection. When researching this type of tiller guns I noticed that on the gun in Michl’s collection there is a sentence which is later inscribed. (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...light=montjuic In post 42). The later added words are not completely visible but they reveal the words Castillo de Bernat de “…..” and Barcelona Spain. I believe, after some intense searching and translating I can fill in the blank. It think it should read Castillo de Bernat de Cabrera. Cabrera is a little island near Mallorca and it is part of the Kingdom of Spain.
When searching for Castillo de Bernat I found this Spanish Wikipedia article on the Bernat family. As far as I understand it this family has lived in the castle of Montsoriu on Cabrera (http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castillo_de_Montsoriu). The first family member (Bernat Desclot ) was also the Royal chronicler for the king of Spain in 1285. Accused by Queen Eleanor of Sicily, Bernat II (son of Bernat Desclot), was beheaded in Zaragoza in 1364, his son Bernat III took up arms against Pedro IV, the fight lasted until the death of the Viscount and it was his son Bernat IV de Cabrera, who signed an according to Pedro IV in 1372 and later in 1381 a second, to recover the possessions of the family.
In the fifteenth century the family falls into ruins but the name stick for ever to those guns.
My theory is that they were later on transferred to the castle of Montjuic, which was constructed only in 1640.

The tiller gun in my collection is the only known sample of this series to retrain its original Spanish oaken haft. It has a total length of 178,5 cm of which 104 cm is within the haft. The barrel itself measures 56,5cm and has a bore of approximately 20mm with the muzzle swamped to 27mm.
It is an impressive gun to hold, but also very heavy and long. In contemporary illustrations we can see that the gun was held with one hand (the left) and the ignition iron within the other hand, the haft was resting between the right armpit or on top of the right shoulder (see illustrations to follow in next posts). Even with my length of 1,93cm I struggled to get this gun under control. The Spanish people of that time were smaller than me so I wonder how they did fire this gun. Most probably the haft was sticking out behind the soldier for quit a large amount. There are even instances kknown where the gun was held by one person with two hands and a second person would handle the ignition iron.
Also an interesting thing to note on this gun is the socket with what appears to be fabric stuck between the seams. This was probably done to ensure a tight fit for the haft with the iron socket. The haft is around 45mm thick at the socket making this one sturdy gun.

Related threads:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...light=montjuic
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...light=montjuic
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=15381
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...ght=touch+hole

Special thanks to Michael Trömner for his help by correctly identifying this rare tiller gun.






Last edited by Marcus den toom; 10th October 2014 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 10th October 2014, 11:01 AM   #2
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And more




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Old 10th October 2014, 11:03 AM   #3
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See how this proud Dutchman stands... well what did you expect me to be like heheh

I also made a holder for my clodshot piece which should, most likely, represent the correct kind of ammunition used for this type of gun.



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Old 10th October 2014, 11:06 AM   #4
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On to the illustrative sources.

Attachment 1: The Siege of Mortagne, from the Chronique d’Angleterre, produced in Bruges, late 15th century.( http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illumina...&NStart=140504)

Attachment 2: Croniques abregies commençans au temps de Herode (http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv...de%20Bourgogne)

Attachment 3: Stundenbuch Maria v. Burgund ~1470, fol.47v. 2 kl

Attachment 4: Alter stich 013 geschichte 1475 die altesten handbuechsen aus rudimentum noviciorum luebeck brandis

Attachment 5: Martin le Franc (c. 1410 – 1461): Le Champion des Dames. Flandres 1442. Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, Bruxelles 9466, Fol. 4r







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Old 10th October 2014, 11:08 AM   #5
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Attachement 1: Quinte curce 1468 page 17 book guns and gunsmiths (http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illumina...=18&NStart=169)

Attachement 2: /

Attachement 3: /

Attachement 4: Siege of montargis

Attachement 5: Siege of Jericho 1445 MA 104 NYPL







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Old 10th October 2014, 11:09 AM   #6
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A two handed tiller gun with second soldier igniting. Can’t find the source on this on, it came from Pinterest but I can’t find the source.

edit: found something by using the new function on google!!! "search on google for this pictures "
http://dead.octanum.info/obrazki/woj...ar/m337_47.JPG



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Old 10th October 2014, 01:46 PM   #7
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This is not fair
The correct owner for this gonne would undoubtedly be me
What a great acquisition



.

Last edited by fernando; 11th October 2014 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 10th October 2014, 03:01 PM   #8
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amazingly beautiful and rare piece, especially with the original pole.
congratulations on this sublime acquisition

best,
Jasper
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Old 10th October 2014, 03:06 PM   #9
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Hi Marcus
Ive often wondered why these early guns seem to have quite large touch holes and not much in the way of a priming pan. In The Complete Gunner (1672 ) in the section on artificial fireworks there are a lot of references to quills packed with compressed powder for various pyrotechnic effects. So is it possible that ready prepared quills were used as priming fuzes ? In which case the soldier in your above illustration may not be about to give fire to the gun , but may as it appears be inserting something into the touch hole . Just an observation...
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Old 10th October 2014, 03:43 PM   #10
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Michl's thread on the position of the touch hole should answer sme of your questions.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...ght=touch+hole

The development of the priming pan was, in my opinion, mostly due to the ever further developing gun. First guns are, as can be seen in contemporary illustrations, heavy objects. Lateron this changed to a more manageable hand held gun like the one in the Michael Trömner collection.

My guess would be that when these real hand held guns arrived, they soon discovered that a better "container" for holding the black powder was needed. Especiallyin the heat of the battle when you would often run, hide... aim. It was chaotic at best and no way that a powder load would stay neatly stacked on the touchole. As stated before, the thread on the position of the touch hole tells the same story. The priming pan slowly evolved from beeing just a ridge on top of the barrel to a pan situated mostly on the right hand side.
There are instances, if i remember corectly, that a hardening gunpowder past was put in the priming pan... but if this was yet discovered/used in the times of my tiller gun, i don't know.

All of the aboove is also just an assumption I have no evidence that this thesis is correct but it sounds the most likely to me.
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Old 10th October 2014, 06:22 PM   #11
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Yes, I had read Michaels piece . I seemed to me that the problem was exacerbated when toucholes began to move towards the side but still without much in the way of an obvious pan . The solidified priming mass theory circumnavigates this , but also reduces them to one shot per engagement weapons which seems to me an extravagant waste of potential firepower . Maybe someone with live firing experience of hand cannons could comment .
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Old 10th October 2014, 08:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus den toom
My latest acquisition is this tiller gun which has its origin in the Northern regions of Spain
Vey nice tube! Thank You for sharing this. What is the full length of the steel part including the socket and what is the length of the barrel without socket?
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Old 12th October 2014, 04:26 PM   #13
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Hi Alex,

Sorry for my late reply, but the haft is 104cm, the total barrel with socket is 74,5cm of which 56,5cm in the barrel itself.

Also thank you all for you compliments, i hope you all enjoyed readng and watching my research.
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