BOSS & CO.
AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE 12-BORE SIDELEVER HAMMER EJECTOR GUN, serial no. 4016,
30in. replacement nitro chopperlump barrels (by the makers, barrel number 5324), rib engraved 'BOSS & CO. 73 ST. JAMES'S STREET. LONDON.', and gold-inlaid '2', 2 1/2in. chambers, bored approx. true cyl. and 1/2 choke, carved percussion fences, action incorporating Perkes patent ejector system (first version), patent no. 12176 of 8th September 1887, use number 107, rebounding sidelocks, best fine acanthus scroll engraving with feathered and scrolling borders, retaining very slight traces of original colour-hardening, 14 1/2in. highly-figured stock with engraved steel heel and toe plates, engraved Anson push rod fore-end release catch, weight 6lb. 10oz.
Provenance: The makers have kindly confirmed that the gun was ordered as No.2 of a pair of 12-bore hammer ejector guns for the Hon. Rowland Winn M.P. in January 1889 and that the gun was subsequently re-barrelled by them circa 1905
Rowland Winn was born 19th February 1820 to Charles Winn of Nostell Priory near Wakefield. He became an industrialist of note during the 1850s and 60s after he discovered iron ore on his family property, Appleby Hall near Scunthorpe. He knew that the Romans had mined iron there and it was in 1859 that he found a rich vein of ironstone on his land.
Following the discovery, he leased some of the land for mining and also engaged in bringing up the ore himself, as well as having an ironworks built in the area to process the ore. As production grew he looked at new ways of sending his produce to the great iron works of Sheffield, and to that end petitioned parliament to sanction the building of a new railway. This they did and the Trent, Ancholme and Grimsby Railway opened in 1866. To assist the growth of his local empire, Winn had 193 labourers houses built in New Frodingham and extended the local school. Later he financed the building of Scunthorpe Church of England School and St. John's Church.
He spent a deal of time as Conservative M.P. for North Lincolnshire and served as a Government Whip in Benjamin Disraeli's second government from 1874 to 1880. He then became the Conservative's Chief Whip from 1880 to 1885. His service was duly noted when the Conservatives were returned to power and Winn was ennobled, becoming Baron St. Oswald of Nostell in 1885.
His son and namesake, who may have inherited the shotgun, also acted as an M.P., and represented Pontefract from 1868 until 1885. He acceded to the title on his father's death in 1893.
Literature: In his definitive book 'Boss & Co. Best Gunmakers 2nd Edition', page 110, Donald Dallas makes reference to there being only fourteen true Boss hammer ejector guns built.