Original 1796 British Brown Bess Third Model Musket Set Marked Dover Castle- Numbered 1 through 6

Item Description

Original Items: One-of-a-kind set. This set of six consecutively numbered muskets has been fully restored and have been part of the IMA collection for many years. Christian, IMA’s owner never wanted to part with them, but all things change.

In 1789 the French Revolution started and France entered to "REIGN OF TERROR". In 1794 King Louis XIV and his Queen were both beheaded and ALL of Europe took serious notice. Every crowned head in Europe feared the spread of this revolutionary cancer. France declared war on just about everybody including England.

In England a national panic set in because the country anticipated a French invasion. Even small towns raised their own Militia Regiments that were only taken under central Government control in 1800. This was a boom period for British military manufacturers as their order books were bulging, all because of a greatly, at the time, overstated risk. Remember, Napoleon was not yet in complete power, the risk became very real later.

Here we have six identical British manufactured Third Pattern Brown Bess Muskets made early on, almost certainly for a "private military order" each marked on the 39" barrel:


Interestingly, the well-known coastal town we know today as "Dover" was then spelled Dovor. The castle has stood guard over the town, the gateway to Europe, for over 1,000 years having been greatly expanded by William the Conqueror who gained the throne in 1066.

These muskets have brass mounts and bannister rail stocks. The trigger guards feature the acorn motif on the forward section as did both 1st and 2nd Model Brown Bess muskets but were simplified once the 3rd model became firmly established. Each musket has a brass oval escutcheon plate engraved:






No. 3




No. 5



We do not know the significance or meaning of the K.

All locks appear to be perfectly standard flintlocks of the day with "swan necked" cocks. Each displays a Crown over "G.R." and "TOWER" across the tail. All barrels bear correct British proof markings and square tangs.

One must remember that the 1790s was an era of panic across Europe and these six muskets are evidence of that. We have no idea if these were the "only" six or whether the series extended further. These came from an English Collection many years ago and very fortunately were never separated them or sold off individually.

Many great houses and castles had such muskets. Perhaps the best known, in recent memory, is the run of fifty 46" Brown Bess Muskets made by FREEMAN that were sold off by the Earl of Macclesfield from Shirnburn Castle. They were later sold individually for in excess of $10,000 each.

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