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Matchlock or punt gun?

Mystery of 6 foot gun

Mystery of 6 foot gun in Museum Fenland Room. Is it a Matchlock or Punt gun?

One of the fascinating things that happens at the Museum of Cambridge is that different visitors give us different versions of what an object in our collection actually is.

This gun in our Fenland Room is one such. It hangs above the window and must be 6’ long.

Fen Wildfowler in Gun Punt ©MusCamb

Jaroslaw Zisolinski from Poland visited the museum on 29 May 2017. He instantly recognised the gun on display and gave us the following information:

Identified Matchlock gun

Jaroslaw Zisolinski

‘Heavy guns (Matchlock) probably around 1650. It was used for destroying locked doors during attack against buildings. Also it was used to fight in a battlefield. It was transported on a car or carried by two men. Thanks to this the gun was easier to move on difficult ground. A similar idea of gun was anti-tank rifle, produced before WW2 broke out. It was handled by two men.’

Yet another visitor immediately identified it as a ‘punt gun.’ I’d never heard of either so I looked them up. Wikipedia says that the punt gun was used in the 19th and early 20th centuries for shooting waterfowl. This was a commercial harvesting operation.
Certainly, looking online, both guns look the same. Do you know for sure which is the right version? Or maybe you have a totally different answer. We’d love to hear from you.

Enid Porter, Cambridgeshire Customs and Folklore p236, wrote about shooting and wildfowling in the Fens.


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