On the ramparts of Edinburgh castle sits an iron-clad monster. You can see her from the doorway of St Margaret’s Chapel, that tiny little capsule of tranquillity with its extraordinary carved archway and brilliant windows.
Silent and menacing, clad in glossy black, she sits glowering across the streets of the city, her gaze riveted on the Firth of Forth.
Meet Mons Meg.
Named after Mons in Belgium, where she is thought to have been forged, Mons Meg is a siege gun, in the class known as a bombard. Weighing 15,366 pounds (nearly seven tons), with a calibre of 20 inches, she used to hurl stone cannon balls over a distance of two miles.
This deadly damsel was the pride of James II, who had a passion for big guns and – just as importantly – the opportunities to try them out. In 1457, he received Mons Meg and a ‘sister’ gun as a present from…
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