What was ‘Mons Meg’?

What was 'Mons Meg'?This famous old cannon can be seen at Edinburgh Castle, Scotland. It is known to have been used at a siege in 1479. In 1489 an account recorded eighteen shillings being paid for drinks for its gunners, when they ‘cartit Monss by the King’s Command’. In 1650 there appears a mention – by Oliver Cromwell – of the ‘great Iron Murderer, called Muckle Meg’. Another account of the origin of the gun’s name suggests that as Flanders was the chief place for making early cannon, the gun was named after the town of Mons in about 1449, and was sent as a gift to Scotland by the Duke of Burgundy. It split its side when firing a birthday salute in honour of James II when he was Duke of York.

Mons Meg was later removed to the Tower of London. Sir Walter Scott, in patriotic zeal, campaigned to have it sent back to Scotland, and in 1829 King George IV ordered its return to Edinburgh. Pipers played as it made the last stage of its journey when it was accompanied by the 73rd Regiment of Foot and three troops of cavalry.

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