Sunday, 31 May 2015

The Terminal Illness Guy


Yesterday's purchase - a stone cannon or mortar ball dating from the 16th / 17th century.

Green Eyes is always saying that I go out and come back with 'crap'. Last year, she sent me a text message saying, 'I hope you have a good birthday, and find lots of crap in junk shops'.

Yesterday, I brought this home, and she said, "Who would want that?!"

"You would be surprised," said I, "I sold the last one for £300, and it was only 4 inches in diameter. This one is 6 inches." She wasn't convinced.

I have tried to do a bit of research on stone cannon balls via the net, particularly ones which come from Devon like this one. My 4 inch limestone one came from the North Somerset coast.

There was a British site which were puzzling as to how a stone cannon ball turned up on the site of a Tudor playhouse. They worked out that rolling a cannon ball across the boards behind the scenes made a very good impression of thunder. It was a sound prop.

There are loads of pictures of stone cannon balls on the net - some single, others piled high in pyramidical stacks - but not much literature.

There is one American forum which roughly relates to artefacts of a historical nature, and someone has posted a picture of a stone sphere, found in some open area, suggesting that it could be a cannon ball, and they ask if any experts know what it is.

Someone posted up, Just wait until The Cannon Ball Guy sees it. He will tell you what it is.

Sure enough, the 'expert' Cannon Ball Guy turns up and says, Who would want to spend ages chiselling a lump of stone to make it round enough to use as a cannon ball, when they could cast them in iron so much easier? There were NO cannon balls made of stone after 1200 AD.

This is one reason why I never consult American medical advice forums.

23 comments:

  1. ?Does that mean he is suggesting that yours is pre 1200AD?
    I am interested because we acquired one many years ago and carted it from move to move until finally on the move up here to North Yorkshire it went missing. Relieved if it is a fake - rather miffed if it is worth £300.

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    1. No, it means he doesn't know what he is talking about. These aren't faked. your's was worth as much as anyone's, Weave.

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  2. Have you unearthed (ahem) evidence stone cannon balls remained in production in the fifteen and sixteenth centuries. Perhaps like golf balls, the old ones were collected and recycled. Unless, of course, the projectiles buried themselves in the earth and it was necessary to employ stone masons to augment the numbers so easily produced by casting them in iron.

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    1. Could you distill your question for me please, Joanne? I think the answer is 'yes', but I'm not sure.

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    2. Do you know for a fact stone shot was still in production that late. Perhaps enterprising farmers plowed up the old stone shot and sold them to the military, which augmented the new iron shot with the old stone shot.
      Does that deserve a yes?

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    3. No, and yes (or yes and no).

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    4. Fair enough. Hope you do well with your find.

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  3. I've been working in American healthcare for over 40 years...I wouldn't trust our advice either. And balls of stone?!?! Priceless I say.

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    1. I should have entitled this whole post, 'Balls'.

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  4. I thought it was a close up of a Scotch egg when I first saw it! Haha. Just think how happy a Scotch egg the size of a cannonball would make John Gray!

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    1. That could be done with an ostrich egg.

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  5. I have its younger cousin; a stone age ball (about 2 ins in diameter) that was used in a 'sling-shot'.

    Would yours have ended its trajectory as dust?

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    1. It depends what it hit. I am guessing this was made for sea defences, so it would have ripped through wood quite nicely. The 4 inch ones were reputed to be capable of going through up to 40 people before running out of steam.

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  6. "I did a cannonball, I did a cannonball". The Swimming Song.

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    1. That could also be a song from any member of John Gray's household.

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    2. Actually, I've just realised that you referred to my favourite song by my favourite sisters. I love/d them, unlike any other Canadians before or since.

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    3. You were a bit slow there. I love them too.

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  7. I once viewed some cannon balls at Broughton Hall, the guide was asking some young children there if they would like to lift a cannon ball. They all looked a bit shy and refused. I thought well, they can't be that heavy if he's asking children to lift them, I'll have a go.

    They were very, very, heavy. The childrens parents looked less than pleased at the reaction of 'F'ing Hell' from a little grey haired woman.

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