Trying to find information about a gunmaker

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Barry Gregory 440
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:24 pm

Trying to find information about a gunmaker

Post by Barry Gregory 440 »

I have recently been offered a very old, 12-bore, back action, hammer gun with Damascus barrels proofed for black powder with non-rebounding hammers and with its original steel buttplate. The Birmingham proof marks date it from around 1875.

On the side of both locks it is engraved ‘LANKESTER’. After many searches through my books (Nigel Brown etc) and the internet, I have recently found only one reference to a ‘Lankester Gunmaker’ on the Isle of Wight.

Not found any other details, information or history about this gunmaker. Does anybody recognise the name and know anything about them?
John 39
Posts: 452
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 5:30 pm

Re: Trying to find information about a gunmaker

Post by John 39 »

I haven't come across the name before but it appears to be very common in Suffolk and quite common in the south of England. Henry Blomfield (or Bloomfield) Lankester was born the son of William Lankester on 27 March 1773 possibly in Ipswich Street, Stowmarket. He was apprenticed on 27 March 1798 to James (?) Lankester as a brazier. The 1826 electoral register records him as an ironmonger in High Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, and Robson's directory of 1839 records him as a hardwareman. He married Abigail and they seem to have had two or three children, Abigail, Henry and John. He died in 1837 and was buried on 5 August 1837 in the Old Cemetery, Southampton. I guess they had to row his body across the Solent rather than float it over in his coffin, the water is usually quite choppy.The family do not seem to be recorded in any census. John Lankester may have taken over his business, he was originally recorded as a cooper so was used to working with wood and metal, I can't find out anything about Henry.

As a hardwareman and ironmonger he would not be recorded in any gun maker's directory but undoubtedly would have sold Birmingham made guns, black powder and shot.

Where did you find the reference to gunmaker, I can't find one?
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