Monday, 26 September 2011

Queen Elizabeth's Pocket Pistol, Naafi Restaurant, Knights Road, Dover Castle, Kent, UK

As in many other instances concerning Dover Castle (eg the East Roman Pharos) it would seem that no two single internet or non-internet sources can completely agree in their descriptions of any of the castle's component parts. The basilisk ('long gun') now situated in the building housing the Naafi Restaurant (out-of-shot to the right) is no exception:

Once also known as Queen Mary's Pocket Pistol. Housed ex-Regimental Institute building near Canons' Gate, Dover Castle. Made by Jan Tolhuys of Utrecht in 1544. Presented to Henry VIII, not Elizabeth I.

Despite Queen Elizabeth's Pocket Pistol being an easily accessible object nearly 500 years old there are remarkable discrepancies between the current internet and non-internet sources regarding its characteristics. These include what the cannon's made of (bronze, brass), range of shot (1200 yards, 2000 yards, 7 miles, 21+ miles), size of shot (10 pounds, 12 pounds, 60 pounds), and much else besides!

The gun was made in 1544 in Utrecht (Netherlands) by Jan Tolhuys, and given to King Henry VIII (1491 -1547) by his friend, Maximilian of Egmont (1509-1548), Count of Buren and Leerdam and Stadtholder of Friesland.

Also known as Queen Anne's Pocket Pistol in the 19th Century. Gun carriage made in 1827, purportedly from French guns (cannons) captured by the Duke of Wellington's men in the 1815 Battle of Waterloo.

The Second World War prototype Barnes Wallis Bouncing Bomb fragment is partially visible behind the cannon near the left-hand wall.

This photo originally appeared at the following url:

Queen Elizabeth's Pocket Pistol, Dover Castle UK (1)

The above link also gives background historical information and Google Earth satellite map location.

Also see:

Queen Elizabeth's Pocket Pistol, the Long Gun of Dover Castle
Queen Elizabeth's Pocket Pistol in the Regimental Institute, Dover Castle

Links to the main Images of Dover website:

A Dover British Army Royal Artillery history photo. The English Heritage "Pastscape" entry for Dover Castle states:

"Medieval castle possibly originating as a pre-1066 motte and bailey castle, remodelled during the reign of Henry II (Curtmantle), to became a castle with concentric defences, one of the first examples of its kind in western Europe."

All castle photos first appear under the Dover Castle tag.

The castle is one of Dover's Grade I Listed Buildings and English Heritage sites.

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

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