Update: Centuries-old cannon discovered during work in Great Yarmouth

This canon found has been found during flood defence works in Great Yarmouth. Picture from the Environment Agency. This canon found has been found during flood defence works in Great Yarmouth. Picture from the Environment Agency.

Thursday, May 8, 2014
4:49 PM

A piece of history has been uncovered during flood defence work in Great Yarmouth.

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£28.6m flood defence work

The work currently being carried out by the Environment Agency in Cobholm and Southtown is phase one of a multi-million project. The first £28.6m phase consists of 128 metres of tidal defences between Richard’s Dry Dock and Ferry Lane on the Southtown Road quayside being reconstructed.

Charlie Beardall, area manager from the EA, has previously called the scheme was the agency’s “most significant” recent investment in flood defences along the east coast – and “absolutely vital” for residents and businesses.

Eventually 660 metres of flood wall will be repaired, protecting more than 2,500 properties.

The first phase, due to last until 2016, will be followed by further extensive works over the next 20 years.

A centuries-old cannon was found by workers carrying out repairs on the flood defence work along Southtown Road.

The Environment Agency, which is carrying out extensive repairs to Yarmouth’s sea wall as part of a multi-million pound scheme, said the cannon was discovered by contractors on Tuesday.

It had a length of chain attached to it and appeared to have been buried to act as an anchor for a ship that had moored.

An archaeologist visited the site on Wednesday to make a first assessment and the cannon will now be examined in more detail to determine its significance.

In 2010, an old ship’s cannon was uncovered off the north Norfolk coast during a wind turbine foundation survey. The discover of the iron cannon was notified to the receiver of wreck, the “coroner of the seas” who examined it closer to determine any naval significance and its legal owners.

Cannon balls previously found during aggregate dredging operations off Norfolk have been aged to the Anglo-Dutch wars of the 17th century.

On the village green in Wiveton, near Holt, the shattered remains of a 19th century cannon, with a blast hole in its side, have been turned into a mini local landmark. The story goes it was being transported across Norfolk during the Napoleonic Wars when its carriage broke and it was left lying in the road. Local residents retrieved it and tried to fire it for their amusement at which point it burst.

In January, two similar looking cannons were uncovered on a beach in Porthcawl in Wales following winter storms. Museum staff believed the cannons dated from around the end of the 18th Century or the early 19th Century, but couldn’t be sure if they had come from a ship that fought in the Napoleonic war or a merchant ship caught up in a storm.

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