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16th Century Cannon ball Found At Ogmore Beach


A cannon ball from the ill-fated 16th century English Armada was found on Ogmore-By-Sea's beach Hardees Bay by a local family.

The weapon was found by Edward Ward, an Ogmore local who was out at his local beach with his wife and young daughter. Though not an expert in the field, something about a football sized lump of material caught the Vale resident's eye so he decided to investigate.

What the curious Ogmore local had found is thought to be a cannon ball from the English Armada. The attack fleet, headed by Admiral Sir Francis Drake, set sail in 1589, a year after the Spanish Armada, during the Anglo-Spanish War. The fleet failed to capitalise on their home advantage and were utterly defeated by the Spanish navy and storms. Vessels that did manage to return sailed for ports including Plymouth and Bristol, therefore it is plausible that a ship on it's way to Bristol via the South Wales coast could wreck around the Vale of Glamorgan coastline.

Edward Ward said of his exciting discovery:

"On Monday 8th June at approximately 15:30 me, my wife and daughter went to our local beach at Ogmore By Sea, known as Hardees Bay. The tide was dropping and was near low, so my daughter was playing in a rock pool when I noticed a lump of ferrous looking material about the size of a football. The orangey tint caught my eye against the local rocks which looked like matrix-supported conglomerate rock (I'm definitely not a geologist but did 1 module of it at university!). After some digging around, the object came free from the sand/ gravel into my hands. It was covered with small stones and shells so I decided to chip away at these to get a better idea of what it was. As I was knocking it against a rock it cracked in two and literally out fell the spherical iron object, accompanied with a strong ferrous smell. It had to be old due to the amount of material built up around it, and there were no eyelets or attachments on it, so I quickly discount​ed it being a fishing weight. 

It had also been cast as you can see the join on the equator of the ball, and therefore I assumed it wouldn't be ship ballast, as why would so much effort go into this. I had hoped it might be a cannonball so after taking photos and sending it to my mum who is a member of the Llantwit Major Archaeology Cymru class. It was identified by Karl-James Langford MLitt (the archaeologist), as a late 1500s 'minion drake' cannonball. Another thing I found when getting the artefacts home, was a nail in the material surrounding the ball which looks of very similar age. The material around the cannonball is interesting as it looks burned or charred, and may possibly have been molten. Obviously, an expert would need to look over this for me but it's definitely the best thing I've ever found on a local beach!"

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