Colonel Thomas Thornton was a wealthy and somewhat flamboyant character in England in the late 18th and early 19th century. He commanded a militia unit with which he had some disagreement, and which mutinied against his comment at Roborough Camp in 1795. Some years later, he commissioned this quite unique firearm from Dupe & Company of London.
The gun is a single stock with two flintlock actions, two triggers, and two clusters of seven .30 caliber rifled barrels each. Each trigger fires a complete barrel cluster simultaneously. In addition to the firepower of this very remarkable weapon, he also had it finished in a truly magnificent fashion, including the fantastic line “PERDITION TO CONSPIRATORS” on ons of the barrel clusters – clearly he harbored some resentment towards his unruly militia subordinates even years later.
In addition, he had a second stock made to fit just one lock plate and barrel cluster, for when 14 barrels might be a bit of overkill. That stock is even more decorated that the first, with beautiful wooden relief carvings and the motto “A Verite Gagner”, meaning something to the effect of “Truth From Victory”.
This gun is part of the Liege arms museum’s display of civilian arms, and I’d like to thank them for taking it out of their display so I could show it to you. If you are in Liege, stop in and see the museum!