Conservation of Cannonballs from Tantallon Castle

Tantallon Castle, on East Lothian's dramatic coastline, is perhaps best known for having been besieged by Oliver Cromwell’s forces in 1651. A garrison of only 91 soldiers stubbornly held out against several thousand troops under the command of General Monck. They surrendered after twelve days when a breach was made in the Douglas Tower. 

A set of four cannonballs from Tantallon Castle was brought to AOC for conservation in October 2017. The cannonballs had been on display and were heavily corroded, and had lost most of their paint coating.  Loose paint was removed from the cannonballs by applying a poultice of Kling-Strip™, a paint stripper which softened the paint layer so that it could be easily removed by scrubbing with water. Any loose corrosion was removed with wire brushes and a hammer and chisel.  After the surface was again thoroughly cleaned, the cannonballs were painted black. A two-part epoxy paint system was brushed on. This will provide protection in the unforgiving environmental conditions of Tantallon Castle.


Cannonballs before (left and centre) and after conservation (right)

Conservation of the cannonballs was carried out on behalf of Historic Environment Scotland. You can find out more about visiting Tantallon Castle here.