WHEN nine-year-old James Budd and his little sister, Elizabeth, were working on one of their dens at the end of the garden, they weren’t expecting to find a civil war cannonball.
Amid the broken branches buried in the mud, James and six-year-old Elizabeth had stumbled across a 400-year-old civil-war cannonball.
Their house lies just south of Stansted House in Westbourne, which was ruined during the civil war in the 17th century.
“I saw something and thought, that looks quite interesting, so I smashed away all the twigs and Elizabeth spotted it,” said James.
The pair found the solid iron ball and took it inside.
“We took it to dad, because we don’t know much about cannonballs, we only know what they look like, so we asked if he could tell us a bit about it,” said James.
Dad Rob didn’t quite believe it at first.
“I thought they had just found a big rock or something, but when I saw it, it was quite obvious it was a cannonball,” he said.
“It’s a nice thing to find, really.”
The cannonball, which weighs about 7lbs, is made of solid iron which has crumbled away on one side.
“It looks like a world that has a dried-up oceans and huge cliffs around it,” James said.
When asked if they could see themselves becoming archaeologists one day, James and Elizabeth said ‘definitely’.
The family said they have contacted both the Novium in Chichester and Rowland’s Castle Historical Society to learn more about the cannonball.
Joan Felton, a guide at Stansted House said: “A lot of the building was destroyed in the 17th century and there was a lot of activity around that time.”
In December of 1643, Lord Hopton ordered a siege of the house.
Then later in 1644, the parliamentarian Sir William Waller ordered another to attack on the house in which he used two ‘drakes’– small mobile cannons from which this cannonball is thought to have been shot.
Waller’s siege is thought to have destroyed almost all of Stansted House, leaving only the chapel untouched.