Original British Brass Barrel Flintlock Blunderbuss by Wilson of London from H.M. Revenue Cutter SWALLOW - dated 1746
Original Item: One of a Kind. This is a lovely British brass barrel blunderbuss, marked on the lock plate tail by WILSON of London over a 1746 date. The center of the lock plate is marked with a CROWN / G.R. for King George II, who reigned 1727 to 1760, next to a "Lock Viewer's" mark under the pan. The lock is fitted with a lovely leaf back cock and is not fitted with frizzen reinforcement bridle.
With all brass mounts, this wonderful blunderbuss was originally intended as a commercial private purchase weapon, but was then taken into Government service when issued on a revenue Cutter in the the late 18th century. Measures 31" in overall length with a sturdy 15 1/2" Cannon style barrel, and comes complete with a brass tipped wood ramrod.
The top of the brass barrels is marked London in cursive script just forward of the breech. Farther down the barrel it is marked:
FOR HIS MAJESTY'S REVENUE CUTTER SWALLOW
The breech of the barrel bears the London Gunmaker's Company CROWN / P proof and CROWN / V viewed markings, and there is also a CROWN / I-W, for the maker Wilson, whose first initial was J, but often written as I at the time.
The wood stock is lovely, with a beautiful bannister rail stock, and a great color. There are no repairs or deficiencies we can see. The brass hardware is fully polished and bright, and looks great in the light. The hammer action is strong, and the lock holds correctly at half-cock.
The blunderbuss comes with a British RED NAVAL ENSIGN flag measuring 17" X 35" in which the blunderbuss was wrapped when we got it from an old English Royal Navy Collection. The flag shows a few tears and much use, clearly being very old, though we doubt anywhere near as old as the blunderbuss.
A very romantic set of Blunderbuss and flag. Ready to research and display!
Year of Manufacture: 1746
Ammunition Type: Lead Shot & Powder
Barrel Length: 15 1/2 inches
Overall Length: 31 inches
Action: Flintlock Side Action
Feed System: Muzzle-Loaded
HM Revenue Cutter Swallow
Several cutters have served His Britannic Majesty's revenue service as HM Revenue Cutter Swallow in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In wartime each cutter operated under a letter of marque, which authorized the master to engage in offensive actions against the enemy, not just defensive. These letters provide some information. Unfortunately, because the Government did not insure its vessels, sources such as Lloyd's Register, and later, the Register of Shipping, did not list the vessels while they were on government service. Also, Revenue cutters worked with the Royal Navy. A Customs House minute of 7 July 1806 notes that the Revenue cutters Swan and Hound might replace the Revenue cutters Stag and Swallow, which were then serving with Admiral Keith. Individual cutters might even for a time serve the Navy as a hired armed vessel.
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