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The Place of the Crane Gun

December 2020
The Place of the Crane Gun

The history and stories behind the guns built by John Dickson and Son are a very important part of our heritage and the majority of Dickson guns have a great story behind them. These stories are sometimes uncovered through the name of the original purchaser in the Dickson ledgers, the name on a gun case or a tale recounted to us by a current owner.

An interesting story has been revealed through a gun that came to us with a Crane engraved on the stock oval.

In early 2020, we had the opportunity to acquire a single Dickson Round-Action shotgun that was originally delivered in 1896. The action was surprisingly crisp with its period correct dandelion engraved detonators and the lockwork was sound but the gun would clearly need some sympathetic restoration to bring it up to a standard for retail. A quick glance at the records revealed it was a single gun made for 'Cranstoun'. Interestingly, the gun was marked as a No. 1, but not in the style for the year and the stock carried an oval with a standing crane (bird) elegantly engraved on it.

With the Dickson records now digitised, it was a simple case of looking for a matching gun made after 1896 for 'Cranstoun'. Sure enough, we found the No. 2 gun, made in 1898 to match this one for C. J. E Cranstoun. 

Even more intriguing was the fact that we know where the No. 2 gun is. Registered to a Dickson Owners Club member in North America, this gun also has the same crane engraved on its oval but the chance to reunite this pair is a story yet to be written.

The name Cranstoun is of territorial origin and comes from the lands and barony of Cranstoun in Midlothian, Scotland. The lands might have been named after the Anglo-Saxon for place of the crane. A crane being a bird which appears on both the shield and crest of Clan Cranstoun.

Colonel Charles Joseph Edmondstoune-Cranstoun of Corehouse was born on 29 July 1877. He was the son of Charles Edward Harris Edmondstoune-Cranstoun of Corehouse and Edith Mary Jerningham. From his birthdate its clear that gun No. 1 was built for this 18th birthday and gun No. 2 was built for his 21st birthday, creating a matched pair of guns.

He was educated at Oratory School, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England and graduated from Christ Church, Oxford University with a Bachelor of Arts. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.) in 1914 and fought in the First World War, where he was mentioned in despatches twice and gained the rank of Colonel in the 6th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders.

He was awarded the Croix de Guerre avec palme, the Territorial Decoration (T.D.) and the Knight - Order of St. Gregory the Great (K.S.G.). He held the office of Justice of the Peace (J.P.) for Lanarkshire. He was Colonel of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry between 1921 and 1925 and held the office of Vice-Lord-Lieutenant of Lanarkshire between 1938 and 1950. He was appointed Companion, Order of the Bath (C.B.) in 1945. He died on 7 July 1950 at age 72, without issue.

The ancestral home of the Cranstouns is Corehouse, a country house and estate, located 1.2 miles to the south of Lanark, Scotland. The Corehouse estate was owned in 1799 by the Misses Edmonson, and a Georgian house stood on the site. By 1824 the estate was in the possession of the advocate George Cranstoun, a grandson of the 5th Lord Cranstoun. On the recommendation of his friend Sir Walter Scott, Cranstoun commissioned the architect Edward Blore to design a new house, which was completed in 1827. Cranstoun later took the title Lord Corehouse when he was appointed to the College of Justice. Blore's design, executed in an "Elizabethan Cotswold manor house style" was influential on the development of country house architecture in England and Scotland, including the work of William Burn. Corehouse is a listed building, and its grounds form part of the Corra Linn Falls on the River Clyde which is listed in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland. Part of the estate was given to the Scottish Wildlife Trust, to form the Corehouse Nature Reserve.

For the opportunity to become the new owner of The Place of the Crane Gun, please contact us here.