Roaring Meg (cannon)

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Roaring Meg on display at Goodrich Castle

Roaring Meg was the name of several powerful cannons used in the 17th century. It is not to be confused with Mons Meg, a medieval bombard preserved at Edinburgh Castle.

English Civil War[edit]

Created by Colonel Birch for the Siege of Goodrich Castle[edit]

Plaque on Roaring Meg at Goodrich Castle

Roaring Meg was a mortar cast in 1646 for the siege of Goodrich Castle.[1] With a 15.5 inch barrel diameter and firing a 2cwt hollow ball filled with gunpowder, Roaring Meg was the largest mortar of the English Civil War. The weapon and its ammunition is believed to have been manufactured near Lydbrook at Howbrook furnace and forge whose then owner, John Browne, is known to have supplied weapons to the Parliamentarians.[2]

She was instrumental in the capture of Goodrich Castle in 1646 by Sir Thomas Fairfax.[3] During the siege the Roundhead commander, Colonel Birch, was so excited with his new weapon he personally fired the last 19 balls.[3] Following Roaring Meg's success at Goodrich, it was subsequently deployed at the bombardment of Raglan Castle. Roaring Meg is preserved by Herefordshire Council and has been on display at Goodrich Castle since 2004.[4]

A cannon in the Earl of Northampton's Regiment[edit]

Roaring Meg was also the name of a cannon used earlier in the war by the Cavalier Earl of Northampton's Regiment.[5]

Cannon on the Walls of Derry

Later cannon[edit]

Roaring Meg was also the name of a cannon used during the Siege of Derry in 1689.[6] This one is preserved on Derry's city walls but is currently undergoing restoration.

In popular culture[edit]

A tributary of the river Beane is called the Roaring Meg—a rock band and a retail park in Stevenage have been named after this.

A blonde beer brewed by the Springhead brewery in Sutton on Trent takes its name from the cannon.

Alluded to by Monty Python with the double entendre, "The whole garrison banged Roaring Meg and shot their balls into the French"

Other use[edit]

Roaring Meg is a name given to a freshwater spring one mile to the north of the city of Lincoln, England which was used by the Romans to provide water to the city, subsequently became the site of a public house, and is now the site of a large supermarket.


External links[edit]