The Court House / Gaol Canons

Canon Barrel

The Big Guns
The two front lawn 24 pounder canons were likely brought to Cornwall in 1898 along with the two 32 pounder guns which once graced Central (Horovitz) Park, two blocks to the east. Originating from Old Fort Henry, the guns were (indefinitely) loaned to the (then) Town of Cornwall by the Department of Militia and Defence for historic and decorative purposes.




The viewer can tell that they are naval guns by the existence of the cascable at the rear, which allowed rope to be looped through the hole to diffuse firing recoil.

Canon_west_east side

The west gun was cast by the Caron Company near Falkkirk, Scotland.

Canon_east_east side_lab

The east gun is the standard length of 9 1/2 feet. It would have fired a solid shot weighing 24 pounds (thus its name) an estimated 2,450 yards at 10 degrees elevation. It could also fire canister, a thin tin containing 46 half pound iron balls or grape shot, at massed infantry, or nine two balls, or shells weighing 16 pounds and containing 13 ounces of powder at ship’s rigging or massed troops. The standard discharge was eight pounds of large grain black powder.


Both guns are marked with King George III’s monogram and were cast after 1792 when cascables were added.

The trunnion or supporting piece that holds the east gun on its carriage is marked WCo, and thought to have been made by Walker and Company of Sheffield, England.

Canon sights_both_Lores


The sights on both guns are primitive by today’s standards and were no more than marks filed or cut into the cast iron. The quarter sight marks are shown on each side of the breech ends.





Bicentennial plaqueIf the touch-holes were cleared (unspiked), and the barrels cleared, the guns could still be fired. To test this hypothesis, the east gun was loaded with a small charge of powder and discharged for the last time during Cornwall’s 1984 Bicentennial celebrations.



…In the 1800’s when Canada was first settled, the currency was the same as Great Britain, pounds, shillings and pence.  If you committed a crime here are some of the fines:

1864 – Charge:  Assault
Sentence:  fine of 5 shillings or one month imprisonment

Charge:   Breaking Sabbath
Sentence:  fine of  10 shillings

Charge:  Assault and battery
Sentence:   one pound 5 shillings or one month imprisonment