St Edmunds Hill has over the years become more commonly known as Gun Hill owing to the presence of the cannon here. These magnificent guns are not however, as one might believe, associated with the Battle of Sole Bay. It is assumed that they are some of the earliest to be made in England and are dated to the Tudor period (1485-1558) as some bear the Tudor rose and crown.
Tradition has it that they were captured from 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' at the Battle of Culloden in 1746 by the Duke of Cumberland. Prince Charles had taken them from the English at an earlier stage, although their exact origin remains a mystery.
The Duke called in to Southwold on his way back to London from Inverness after his victory, and being given a warm reception by the inhabitants presented the guns to the town.
They were last fired in 1850, when a man was killed by the explosion. The ladle, mop and rammer are to be seen in the museum.
Southwold was bombarded during the 1914-1918 war because the Germans considered it to be a 'fortified place' and as a result of this the guns were buried, as they were again during the Second World War.