1460 - James II killed by exploding cannon

Going with a Bang

One of the advantages of being a medieval monarch was that it allowed one to own the best set of 'boy's toys' in the kingdom. James II was especially proud of his remarkable collection of guns. He had the good fortune to marry Mary of Gueldres, a princess from Burgundy, which was one of the European nations most advanced in military technology. It was therefore no surprise that heavy artillery (including the bombard Mons Meg) figured largely as gifts from his new father-in-law. In 1460 James brought his cannon to bear on the English-held fortress of Roxburgh Castle. Unfortunately, as was all too common with fifteenth-century firearms, a faulty siege-gun exploded, taking the king with it.

The yere of god 1460 the thrid sonday of August king James the The year of God 1460 the third Sunday of August King James the secund with ane great ost was at the siege of Roxburgh and unhappely second with a great host was at the siege of Roxburgh and unhappily was slane with ane gun the quhilk brak in the fyring for the quhilk was slain with a gun, which broke in the firing for the which was there great dolour throu all Scotland and nevertheless all the there was great sorrow though all Scotland. Despite this the lordis that war thar remanit still with the ost and on the Fryday efter Lords that were there remained with the army and on the Friday after, richt wysly and manfully wan the forsaid castell and tynt nocht a man right wisely and manfully they won the forsaid castle and lost not a man in the winning of it. in the winning of it.

Asloan Manuscript, MS. 16500, f.247

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