It’s Zombie Awareness Month and our ‘Drawn of the Dead’ exhibition is on the horizon. This exciting exhibition features some of the original artwork produced by Shropshire’s Charlie Adlard for the hugely popular ‘The Walking Dead’. So it seemed appropriate to us that our object of the month for May be this pest controlling crossbow [H.06225].
This is an English, bullet shooting, crossbow dating from the early nineteenth century. It would have been used for hunting small animals like rooks. Earlier styles of crossbows fired stones and clay pellets, but bullet shooting bows like this one were designed to be more accurate and damaging, using half ounce balls of lead as their ammunition.
To load the weapon the string must be pulled back and secured on the hook shaped catch. This crossbow has a built in bending lever to make this process easier. This leaver is attached by a hinge to the box lock, where the catch and the trigger button are positioned. Also on the box lock is a sight with five sighting holes. It is engraved with pretty leaf scrolls. At the front end is the less pretty but equally practical, ‘U’ shaped foresight.
Select your weapon wisely…
Unlike guns, crossbows are quiet when fired. This means you can take a shot without scaring off your prey or alerting others to your presence. This made them popular with poachers in Tudor England. It’s also why they may just be the perfect weapon for use in a zombie uprising.
If a dawn of the dead situation were to occur in Shropshire, there are several weapons on display around Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery which could be utilised alongside this crossbow. However, an even better place to find yourself would be Shropshire Museums Collection Centre in Ludlow, where an array of historic weapons are stored, and ideal for the fight against the undead.
For those that like to be prepared and in the know, a full catalogue of the Arms and Armour in Shropshire Museums collection is available for purchase. This wonderful and detailed catalogue was produced in memory of photographer, and former volunteer for Ludlow Museum, Jeremy Hall.
Object of the Month is on display in the Visitor Information Centre and features on our social media feeds: