Cannon from famous mutiny ship Bounty sold after turning up on Scottish estate

The true story of a disaffected crew who overthrew their cruel captain was immortalised in the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty.

Marlon Brando in the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty. Picture: Rex

Now an ancient cannon from the famous ship has sold for more than £20,000 after being discovered on a Scottish estate.

The valuable gun was salvaged from the vessel by the rebellious sailors in the wake of the revolt 229 years ago.

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It has gone under the hammer after spending the last century in Scotland, originally on an island in the Clyde and latterly in the grounds of a country house in southwest Scotland.

After casting their commander, Captain Bligh, adrift the crew set on fire and sunk the Bounty off Pitcairn Island in the Pacific Ocean.

The huge 600kg cannon remained on the isle for over a 100 years, until the president, JR McCoy, whose great-grandfather was one of the mutineers, gifted it to a British sea captain in 1898.

It was brought back to the UK and passed into the safe-keeping of Evelyn Parker, a partner in a Liverpool shipping firm.

She purchased Little Cumbrae island, off the coast of Ayrshire, in 1913, and the cannon is believed to have remained there until 1960.

Scottish businessman Peter Kaye bought Little Cumbrae in 1960 and the cannon was seemingly included in the sale.

Mr Kaye, who died last year, kept the gun in the sprawling front garden at his country house in Kirkcudbright, in Dumfries and Galloway.

It was sold by auctioneer Thomson Riddick, who said its discovery meant the whereabouts of all four of the Bounty’s cannons were now known.

Of the remaining three, two are on display on Pitcairn Island and one is in a museum on remote Norfolk Island, 900 miles east of Australia.

The cannon comes with a letter of provenance written by McCoy in 1898, confirming its authenticity.

It achieved a hammer price of £17,000, with extra fees taking the overall sum paid by the successful bidder to £20,500.

The auctioneer described the gun as a “fascinating piece of naval history”.

Sybelle Thomson, managing director of Thomson Riddick, said : “The late owner of the estate was a collector of all sorts of things, especially sea-faring items. He had owned it since 1960, when he purchased an island and the cannon was part of the sale. This cannon was in the front garden, looking out to sea. ”

The 120-year-old letter from McCoy states: “This is to our knowledge the last of the HMS Bounty’s armourment. This gun was washed up in Bounty Bay, Pitcairn island, where she was wrecked in 1789.”

The Bounty had been on a mission to collect and transport breadfruit plants to the West Indies when the mutiny ensued in 1789.

Relations between Captain Bligh and his crew deteriorated during a five-month layover in Tahiti, when many of the sailors lived ashore and formed relationships with native Polynesians.

After three weeks back at sea, the commander was dragged from his bed at knife-point, forced into a rowing boat with 18 of his loyal supporters and cast adrift in the Pacific Ocean.

Captain Bligh eventually returned to the UK, where he was acquitted after a court martial for the loss of his ship.

The mutineers, led by ship’s mate Christian Fletcher, commandeered the 90ft Bounty and sailed for Pitcairn Island, where they settled.

But their crimes caught up with them – 14 of the 23 rebels were rounded up to face trial. Four drowned, three were hanged, four were acquitted and three were pardoned.