York Military Musket By Watkin Circa 1745
- Price: $14,950.00 CAD
- Licensing Category: Antique
We are pleased to offer a commerical musket built on contract for the city of York, circa 1745. The best background history of this contract has been provided to us by an Ontario friend and collector, Bruce Tidd. In 1745, there was a great fear that the Jacobite's and their "Young Pretender",Bonnie Prince Charlie, would invade the City of York. The Scots had already marched to Prestonpans where they defeated the English army for his first victory. They followed this by moving south, invading England, marching with little opposition as far south as Derbyshire. The City of York, being not much farther south, became concerned. On the 24th of September, 1745, a meeting was assembled at Guildhall where analysis of the defences were discussed at length. The outcome was they were in terrible shape and needed to reinforce their defences. It was agreed that there would be four or more companies, each consisting of a Captain, a Lieutenant, an Ensign, three Sergeants, two Corporals, one Durmmer and sixty private men. The council ordered the local Constables to gather up all available guns and bring them to Guildhall where they were to be cleaned and put in good order. Work was progressing on preparations and a local gunsmith was involved. On November 14th, 1745 a meeting was held which included gunmaker, Robert Watkin of Birmingham and London. As a result a contract was drawn up for Mr. Watkins to provide suitable arms at a rate of three and twenty shillings and six pence a piece. The contract was completed with the maker's number engraved on the barrel. In mid-January 1746, the "Young Prentender" had returned to Scotland and the threat of invasion disappeared. On 27th January, 1746 ,the city thanked the troops, stopped paying them and they went back to being civilians. The guns and other stores were returned to Common Hall for storage in case of further emergency.
The musket,as offered here,remains in very sound collector grade condition. The lock is all original with the clear sharp, R. Watkin, engraved name on the semi banana shaped plate. The pan is unbrided, and all component parts are original to the musket. The 42" barrel shows the maker's No 165 and the commerical Birmingham proof marks. The sideplate and fittings are basically the same as the 1742 military muskets. The wood on this item remains in sound, excellent condition with a clear sharp Y&C (York City) mark and a #138 inventory or rack number. An interesting comparison to this item is a lock and musket from the Williamsbury collection on page 69-70 of "American Weapons of the French and Indian War" by Jim Mullins. A very similar condition example of this musket was recently sold by IMA #ON1810 which was sourced from a New Jersey museum collection. The information can be viewed on the net. The use of these muskets in America from the time of issue to the Blue of York has been debated for years. Mullin, in the above noted work ,states that no York musket were used in the French and Indian wars. When you consider the many and varied muskets that come to American during the Revolutionary War; there is a good chance that surplus York muskets could be included. The condition of this example appears to be better than most examples that we have found in our research.