SUTTON & CO. 'THE HEREWARD GUN' - AN EXCEPTIONAL AND UNIQUE DELAHAUT-ENGRAVED 2-BORE TAKE-DOWN FALLING BLOCK HAMMER SPORTING GUN, serial no. 201, 40in. black powder only barrel engraved 'SUTTON & CO. GUNMAKERS' and with the model name 'THE HEREWARD 2 BORE GUN' set between Anglo Saxon swords, the right side of the barrel with loading details 'FULL LOAD: 15 DRAMS NO.6 BLACK POWDER. 5OZ. SHOT', the left side engraved 'MADE BY DONALD J. CUSTERSON. CAMBRIDGE. ENGLAND.', brass bead fore-sight, 114mm chamber, the breech end with threaded detaching system, behemothic Alex Henry style falling block action with push button locking underlever, curved non-rebounding back-action lock with ornate hammer, elongated top strap, the whole engraved with panels and borders of very fine bold acanthus scrollwork, the side panels with central 'Sutton & Co.' garter with crossed Anglo Saxon swords, the action frame finely gold-inlaid with an Anglo Saxon battle helmet in an ornate and finely matted cartouche, 14 7/8in. highly-figured pistolgrip stock with finely engraved pistolgrip-cap and including 1 1/8in. leather covered recoil pad, sculpted fore-end with Anson style push rod release, weight 19lb., in its fitted leather case with accessories and detailed care and usage manual, together with a custom full length fleece lined leather gunslip
Provenance: We have been kindly supplied the following background by Don Custerson who built this remarkable gun:
"I was asked by Giles Whittome to build a 4 bore falling block rifle from a set of castings. These had been made by Peter Dyson from moulds taken from a Greener whaling gun in the Royal Armouries collection. The action was an Alex Henry hammer type and of a very basic shape which was too massive for a shoulder weapon. I heavily modified the action to lighten it and reduce its size. The rifle was then put together with a modern barrel and a large recycled percussion back action lock. When stocked and shootable in the white, the rifle was shot by Giles and several acquaintances at a shooting ground in London. These shooters included Royal Armouries staff who later placed an order for a 2 bore rifle to commemorate the year 2000 millennium. I drew up a new design based on the 4 bore but able to accommodate the much larger 2 bore round. Several sets of parts were machined from solid, not castings, and I built the Millennium rifle from one of these sets. A customer of mine saw one of the subsequent 2 bore Giles Whittome rifles that I have built and asked if I could make a 2 bore shotgun to a similar design. The Hereward is the result of a complete redesign exercise. The action is not flat sided like the rifle but lighter and rounded. The gun had to be take-down so I designed an interrupted thread barrel mounting with a locking lever concealed in the forend. The Hereward name was thought of by my wife who made the connection with the place where my customer lives. Hereward was an Anglo Saxon warrior who led a resistance movement against William the Conquerer's Norman invasion in 1066. He hid from William's soldiers in the local East Anglian fens at the place still called Wake's Crossing to this day. This gave a theme for the engraving style which depicts Anglo Saxon symbols and artefacts."