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Lead bullets

Lead bullets found during excavations on Aberystwyth Castle in the 1980s.

They were probably made at the end of the British Civil War, during the winter of 1645-1646, when the Castle was held by Royalists (who supported Charles I) and was besieged by the Parliamentarian troops (the Roundheads, who supported Cromwell).

Similar bullets were used for at least another two hundred years, for example, in pistols used by Custom officers and highway men.

Lead ore was a very important export from north Ceredigion. Thousands of Welsh and Cornish people were involved in mining, crushing, sorting and the transport of the ore to the port of Aberystwyth. It was then taken to Swansea to be smelted and use in many different products. The mining and processing of the lead may well have killed as many people as the bullets which were made from it.

The bullets were made in moulds, several at a time. Two are still joined together and one still has its lug attached showing that they were never used. If these were made during the siege, it is possible that they were made from lead taken off the roof of the castle buildings.

They are about 1.5 cms diameter.

The bullets are on permanent display in the archaeology gallery of Ceredigion Museum.