18th c. naval artillery found in Scottish garden

Retired boat builder John Hodgson found a bar shot, two cannon balls connected by a metal bar, wedged between two walls of an old farm on his property in Morven, Scotland.

It doesn’t have any marks to confirm which ship may have fired it and when, but the area was under attack by the Royal Navy in the mid-18th century during the Jacobite rebellion.

Before the Battle of Culloden, near Inverness, in April 1746, HMS Terror and HMS Princess Anne landed men in Morven to destroy the homes and possessions of suspected supporters of Charles Edward Stuart – Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Mr Hodgson’s home at Fiunary is half a mile from the Sound of Mull.

His find may suggest the vessels also played a more direct role in the attack.

Up until now it was thought the ships brought troops to harry the locals, not that the ships actually shot buildings down.

This one bar shot may suggest otherwise, especially since it was found wedged in a weird place, not just dragged and dropped somewhere.

Dr Martin, a reader of maritime studies at the University of Andrews, said it could not be proved conclusively that the weapon was from HMS Terror or HMS Princess Anne.

However, he added that the shot was of the right size of calibre and, given where it was dug up, it made for an interesting find.

He said: “That kind of ammunition was used in the 16th to 18th and early 19th Centuries by ships primarily as a means of disabling the enemy before boarding them.”

Specifically, the shot would be aimed at the rigging. The bar-and-balls design would tear and jumble the ropes making them unusable and the ship therefore hard to maneuver.