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As some of the world’s leading authorities in their fields, our curators and conservators will present an exciting range of talks on subjects as varied as the death of Richard III to the secrets behind the making of the infamous Iraqi Supergun.

Musket or mistress? The real meaning of ‘Brown Bess’ charts the history and etymology of the term to find the true meaning.

The British soldier’s musket has long been nicknamed ‘Brown Bess’, and the term remains a household name. However, there has been a great deal of confusion over the true origin and meaning of this name, resulting in various explanations. This lecture will chart the history and etymology of the term and reveal the true meaning of the name.


Jonathan Ferguson – Keeper of Firearms & Artillery




45 minutes