Unique Joseph Manton Shotgun
Devolving Lock Manton Shotgun
A unique Joseph Manton 16 bore shotgun with 30in twist barrels with London proof marks and gold lined vents, fitted with devolving locks signed ‘Joseph Manton’, the frizzens are signed ‘Joseph Manton Patent’. The percussion vents are gold lined. It has a vacant silver eschutcheon to rear of the tang. The walnut stock is finely grained and in very fine order. The gun numbered 108 was made in 1790 as a double barrelled flintlock shotgun. In or about 1820 it was converted by Joe to take his devolving pan lock and then renumbered 11.028.
The case is complete with accessories including a bag shaped powder flask, on the inside of the lock box it has a brass eschuteon marked ‘JM 108’. The case was made by Sarah Robinson of Lambeth and carries a label with the Davies Street address, the case is now reunited with the gun.
Information about this gun is on Pg 284 'The Mantons' by Keith Neal. Even though he never saw this gun he must have had good information supplied to him. The gun, as we know it, was sent out to Manton & Co in Calcutta by his son following Joe's death, probably as a means of dodging Joe's creditors.
The best description of the devolving lock, which was patented by Samson Davis in 1822, can be found on Pg 43 of 'Early Percussion Firearms' by Lewis Winant. The idea for the devolving lock was given originally to Joe by Col Peter Hawker in his fifth edition of 'Hawker's Instructions to Young Sportsmen'.
There is no doubt that there was collaboration between Samson Davis and Joe leading up to the conversion of this gun from flintlock to devolving lock. To my knowledge Keith was going to go to India to trace this gun but he became ill and died before he could go on this quest.
The gun itself disappeared from view until 1900 when the list became available of which guns were sent to India in 1835 after Joe's death. It was eventually sold by Bonhams.
Obviously there is a need for more research and hopefully further information will come to light over the years.