The Second St Albans round shot (St Albans District Council CC BY 2.0 licence)

Battlefields Trust helps save Wars of the Roses round shot

6 March 2022

A round shot from a cannon from the second St Albans (1461) battlefield has been saved from going into a private collection by the Battlefields Trust and the St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society (SAHAAS).

The round shot was discovered by a metal detectorist in the Bernards Heath area of St Albans in 2014 and displayed at the St Albans museum in an exhibition in 2016. But it was returned to its owner after the exhibition.

With the St Albans museum planning a Wars of the Roses exhibition in 2023 and the whereabouts of the round shot unknown, Battlefields Trust member and SAHAAS President John Morewood turned detective and tracked it down to a dealer in antique arms in Brighton.

John and the Battlefields Trust moved quickly to purchase the round shot and the intention now is to pass it back to the St Albans Museum so that it can be properly conserved and displayed.

SAHAAS Vice President and Battlefields Trust South East Region committee member Peter Burley said ‘this is reputed to be the second oldest cannon ball found in Britain. It is the only relic of any sort that can be authenticated to the second battle of St Albans so is a unique piece of battlefield archaeology’.

‘This is the second cannon ball to be found from the battle in the same area of St Albans. The first was found in about 1530 by a pupil playing truant from St Albans School. He later became mayor and recorded the incident in his memoirs. That first cannon ball has, sadly, been long since lost’.

‘We are lucky that the second cannon ball from the battle has not been lost to us as well.’

The Battlefields Resource Centre