Military store at Shrewsbury

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Lost and found: an artillery train at Shrewsbury Castle in 1659
By Charles Singleton

I was passed a document whilst at a lecture given by Professor Malcolm Wanklyn. He had come across it whilst doing work on the Parliamentarian officer list for Shropshire.

The quantity of materials listed seems rather large to be stored at Shrewsbury, which by 1659 had seen little military activity since 1651.

Could it be...

  1. What was left from the general surrender of Royalist garrisons and field troops in 1646?
  2. What was left at Shrewsbury by Cromwell for safe keeping on his march south to Worcester in 1651? (I personally doubt this as Cromwell moved on Worcester from the east and was using a number of big calibre guns on the city before and during the battle and most of the train remained with Monck in Scotland.)
  3. What was left of the Scots train after their defeat at Worcester? Traditionally, it has been assumed that the Scots took leather guns into England. It has been suggested to me that the Scots War Committee moved heaven & earth to drag guns out of northern garrisons to create a scratch train after losses at Dunbar. Artillery Officer Wemyss petitioned Charles II about such actions.
  4. Part of the returning train from Cromwell’s Irish expedition? (although, that perhaps would have arrived at Chester.)
  5. Material en route down the River Severn for deployment overseas?

The pieces are all of the Culverin type, so more of a field army train than a ‘pounding’ siege train, although the two mortars and the petard would have had their uses in a siege.

What is obvious is that this was an inbound train due to the small amount of powder and lack of other materials normally associated with a train.

The investigation continues...

The content of the document:
An account of the artillery, arms and ammunition in the castle of Shrewsbury in August 1659 at the time Major Waring took upon himself the custody of that castle.

Iron 4 whole Culverin 10 feet long weight 4600lbs
1 bastard Culverin 9.5 feet long weight 3510 lbs
5 demi Culverin 9 feet long weight 3000 lbs
5 saker 8.5 feet long weight 1900 lbs
1 mortar piece 12.5” in diameter weight 1000 lbs
2 minions 7 feet long apiece
1 saker drake 7 feet long
Brass 1 minion drake about 7 feet long
a mortar piece 12” in diameter
4 cases of small [indistinct]
1 petard and 2 drakes

Good store of match and bullet, both great and small
Only 8 barrels of powder (but little?)

1000 muskets, most unfixed
Not many swords or pikes fit for use
Good stand of halberds and metal bills
New sword belts, carbine belts and pike heads

400 musket barrels (?)

2 good heaps of old armour being backs and breasts, which weigh together about 2 tons.
[Document ends]