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When did the English Navy start using lead covers over the touch holes on thier cannon's?

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In what time period did the Royal Navy start using  the lead sheet covers over the touch holes on their  cannon's?


I have seen them on cannon's in the 18th century,but need to know if they were in use back in 1545 for my Mary Rose build.

For the wrought iron cannons and bronze demi cannons and others.





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Hi Keith, this is a tough one to answer, and perhaps another member with more reference materials can be more precise. 


According to Brian Lavery in his book of 1987 "The Arming and Fitting of English Ships of War 1600-1815", page 143, lead aprons were in use.  This suggests that such aprons could have been in use on board Mary Rose.  Since sailors were and are very practical, I think some form of material (tarred canvas?) could have predated the use of lead because some form of protection was essential to prevent accidental firing, and to keep the powder dry.


Richard Endsor in his 2009 book " The Restoration Warship" discusses in great detail the building and arming HMS Lennox, launched 1678 at Deptford.  Lennox was a third rate of about 978 tons.  BTW, Lennox had lead sheeting on her bottom.  He has a very extensive list of stores (and other lists). The gunner's stores does not list lead aprons or any lead.  However, the carpenter's stores lists 100 CWT lead sheets plus some scupper material.  He would have used these sheets for repairs.  Would the gunner have asked him to make lead aprons?


I realize these sources are 30 and 60 years later than Mary Rose but shipwrights and sailors were conservative and very practical.  


You might correspond to the Mary Rose Foundation in Portsmouth, unless another member of this august group has more contemporary information.  


Duff in Middletown, CT

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