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A rare stonebow by William Barker of Wigan with the serial number 206 on the butt cap. William Barker is recorded as a maker of guns, crossbows and stonebows in Wigan, Lancashire, circa 1754-86. He had a fine reputation and a workshop, and shop, in Wigan Lane on the outskirts of the town.
Stonebows were used primarily for shooting small game, vermin and for leisure. As the name suggests, ammunition could consist of pebbles, but being manufactured by a gunmaker, the most effective ammunition was probably lead pistol balls.
The slender steel bow is fitted with a contemporary style string with a bullet pouch. The bow is secured by a pair of flanking irons which terminate in a moulded pyramidal finial at the snout which is fitted with a sprung fore-sight on top strung with a green sighting bead. The stock is of walnut. The cocking lever is retained by a sliding iron square at the butt.
The button trigger mechanism has a folding back-sight on top pierced with four vertically aligned ranging holes engraved with foliage and the maker’s name “BARKER” with “WIGAN” below. The forward section of the stock is inlaid with a shaped iron panel engraved with a stand of arms and scrolls. The wooden stock is nicely patinated and the iron parts are a patinated brown overall with light pitting in parts. The bow span is 28 inches (72.5 cm) and the length is 32.5 inches (82.5 cm).