1640 3-pounder Drake Boston Guildhall

One of three cannons in Boston Guildhall

Boston Guildhall is a former municipal building, built in the 1390’s in Boston, Lincolnshire. It’s a testament to the wealth and influence of the Guild of St Mary at a time when Boston’s power as a centre of trade was second only to London. It currently serves as a local museum and a venue for civil ceremonies and private functions. It is a Grade I listed building.

3 pounder drake in Boston Guildhall. Cast by John Browne in 1640. Brought to our attention by Ruth Rhynas Brown.

Museum display notes

Evidence shows that these magnificent brass cannons came into the possession of the town of Boston during the period of the Civil War. Two of them are referred to in the Corporation minutes for 14th April 1643, as being purchased from the town of (King’s) Lynn for the sum of £20. They are thought to have seen service during the Civil War. The cannons were also subsequently used by the Corporation to celebrate grand occasions such as the Monarch’s birthday, a Corporation or Mayoral Banquette etc.

All three are made of brass and mounted on identical cast iron ship carriages, which were fitted by Bowden & Son of Boston in 1845. The original carriages would have been of the timber two wheeled field type.

The two cannons purchased from Lynn are inscribed by their maker John Browne. Brown was a member of a noted English family of iron founders operating in the Weald of Kent. His work casting lightweight iron guns of great quality was to lead to the production of equally superb brass guns. He was considered one of the leading manufacturers of his day and examples of his work are very highly regarded.

The third cannon is beautifully ornamented with re-inforcements, mouldings and xxx being decorated with oak leaves. It was made by Kyliaan Wegewaert, a Dutch gun maker who worked in partnership with his brother Coenraad between 1616-1664.

All three cannon are capable of firing a ball of 3 1/4 lbs weight to a maximum range of about 1,300 yards. The condition of all three is such that they could probably carry out this function.

Taken from a lo-res photo so will confirm illegible parts


Type: 3-pounder Drake
Gunfounder: John Browne
Cast: 1640
Material: n/a
Weight: n/a
Shot: 3 pounds
Current Location: Boston Guildhall Museum
Photos: Ruth Rhynas Brown

Notes by Ruth Rhynas Brown

This is the second later, shorter and lighter 3 pounder drake at Boston’s Guildhall. Cast by John Browne in 1640.