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Mercian Pete

Cronkhill Rifling

Hi Everyone.

Just want to see if I can pick your brains on rifling - although I know this is a bit beyond your time period. This has to do with one of the characters in the history of Attingham Hall where I am currently working

The 5th Lord Berwick, Richard Noel Hill (held the title between 1848 and 1861) was, amongst other things, a keen marksman who patented a form of rifling. It is referred to in house as "Cronkhill Rifling" and a muzzle loading rifle, commissioned from Ebrall's in Shrewsbury, is on display and known as the "Cronkhill Rifle".  There is a claim that either the rifle or the rifling was used by the US Army. This would have been mid 19th century.

Can anyone shed any real light on this for me or point me towards sources that could? What was the innovation in this rifling and was it any good or was just something else that disappeared into the mountain of failed inventions?

We (I) have just discovered another rifle hidden away in the hall that no-one knew was there and was not catalogued or anything. It is in a beautiful mahogany case and complete with 20 paper cartridges enclosing black powder and 15 bore bullet, rather than ball. Probably for hunting deer on the estate, a quick check indicates it was commissioned in 1848. From Ebrall's of Shrewsbury again. Perhaps a prototype.  I can post photo's of both if you are interested along with some more technical details.


Pete Wright

PS: I've done a lot of thinking since Spetchley. I really enjoyed the company of 2/95 and am seriously considering having another go at a training weekend if you'll have me. I think it was things going on around us that spooked me!
Ben Townsend

The Cronkhill rifling is new to me. It appears that the Americans used a huge variety of weapons in the mid C19th, as much to get around various restrictive patent laws as anything else.
You may find further information at one of the following specialist forums:

Regarding membership, I would always recommend attending a training weekend. This way you get to know the 2/95th without all the distractions of a large event.

A big event DOES has the advantage of giving you the opportunity to meet a diverse range of groups and choose one which best reflects your interests in the hobby. There are a lot of different approaches to this game, from 'themed camping with a beer tent' to 'living the Georgian military day' and every variation inbetween.
Mercian Pete

Thanks Ben - I will search these resources.

As for training weekends, I agree and I will.

Hello Peter,
As an aside to this - it was nice to meet you at Spetchley.
Hope you will give it another go. I am guessing you got the impression that re enactors are a bunch of weirdos. Well some are - but not all of us - or rather -  not 2/95  - or rather not me personally - OK yes we are weird but in a pleasant way........  
Give a Winter training day at Chiltern a go - pictures on FB
Mercian Pete

Hi Eddie

No, I did not think that of 2/95 at all. As I have told Paul D, I thought you were a great bunch and that no-one could have given me a warmer welcome.

I was phased by the strange geezer in a top hat with a Colt .45 in his shoulder holster who harangued us about how impossible it would be to "bite, pour, spit, tap" (I'm sure it was with a rifle) and some people (NOT 2/95) ruining your hard practised drill. That made me wonder if I was in the right place but cold, hard reflection has convinced me that I was and that I made a mistake in hastily deciding otherwise. Life only serves up occasional chances to do something you have hankered after, and then you go and mess it up!

I really enjoyed the company of the unit and want to join in, especially without the other re-enactors (that is other groups) around at first. It would help not to have the family silver exposed through the rip in my trousers of course!    q7

If the unit will forgive me and allow me, I will be back!
Mercian Pete

Just to put this to bed. We have located the 1860 patent by Lord Berwick which introduced 3 intermediary grooves into the three grooves that existed in a P53 Enfield Rifle (making six in all). All grooves were chamfered or bevelled rather than squared in cross section, making loading and cleaning quicker and easier. Oddly the extra grooves lessened in depth so that by half way down the barrel (from the lock towards the muzzle) they had disappeared completely. There is no evidence at this time that the patent contributed greatly to anything. Acknowledgements to the Curator Emeritus (bloody spell checker keeps changing this!) and other experts at the Royal Armouries and National Trust.

An interesting point on the progression of rifling is that the Baker appears to have started life with eight rifling grooves and lands, though quickly was redesigned with seven. Meaning that in 1853, when it was replaced by the P53, rifling was reduced to three, and then relatively quickly ( by 1861) the number of grooves began to rise again. Clearly old Ezekiel was ahead of the game even though Whittworth and others could effectively triple the range.

My thanks to you for your assistance, especially Ben.

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