The Kirkcudbright 'Siller' (Silver) Gun

Contributed by The Stewartry Museum

The Kirkcudbright 'Siller' Gun © Dumfries and Galloway Council

This model firearm is believed to be the earliest surviving sporting trophy in Britain - and it is still in use!It was thought that King James VI (later James I of England) of Scotland gave this model gun to Kirkcudbright in 1587 to be used as the prize for a shooting competition by the town's inhabitants. It was claimed his motive was to encourage shooting skills so that the town could defend itself better against cross-border attacks by the English forces. The first reference to the competition is in 1590. However recent research has noted the similarity between the Kirkcudbright gun and the original Dumfries silver gun. Provost MacLellan and Provost Maxwell of Dumfries were brothers-in-law. Both have their initials on their respective guns, and it may be that it was their common initiative to encourage shooting in their neighbouring burghs. It marks a point in the history of war when modern shooting skills replaced medieval archery skills. The Incorporated Trades of Kirkcudbright still shoot for it whenever there is a national event, like a Royal Wedding.

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