Today's Object of the Week is a piece of British naval history - ut how did this weapon from the Battle of Trafalgar come to be made into a sundial, which is now on display in Whitby museum?

AT the height of one of the most important battles in British naval history, a projectile ripped through the deck of a vessel.

The bar shot – a type of cannon projectile invented to destroy the rigging of an enemy vessel – was fired onto HMS Revenge, during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

The missile entered the ship’s bridle port, killing a midshipman, before glancing off the foremast and finally embedding itself in a deck beam.

Now, nearly 215 years later, that same bar shot can be seen in what is perhaps one of the oddest exhibits relating to the battle at Whitby Museum.

The commander of the Revenge was Captain Robert Moorsom, born in Whitby in 1870, and the bar shot was taken home by him as a bizarre souvenir.

It had lodged in the ship’s timbers, from where it was retrieved when the Revenge was docked for repairs.

Moorsom kept it and had it mounted vertically on a stone plinth to support a sundial at his home at Airy Hill.

At Trafalgar Moorsom is said to have played “a distinguished and active part”.

At one point The Revenge was engaged for two hours with the Prince of Asturias and four other ships until they were driven off by British vessels.

Documents in the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth, report that:.”Revenge lay in the thick of battle, her men fighting like demons.”

After Trafalgar, Moorsom carried the Great Banner in Nelson’s funeral procession in January 1806 at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Also in Whitby Museum are a pair of pistols owned by Captain Moorsom which he used at the battle.

Moorsom later became an Admiral, and was knighted by the Prince Regent. His uncle was the first President of Whitby Lit and Phil and his nephew stood as Liberal candidate in the 1832 General Election, which he lost.

One son became Vice-Admiral Constantine Moorsom and another, William, was a distinguished engineer with the London and Birmingham Railway.

The sundial stood at the Airey Hill house – built in 1790 by Richard Moorsom – for several years.

It must have made an ironic subject of conversation at a tea-party at Airy Hill given by a Mr and Mrs Turnbull in 1941, in aid of comforts for the Free French Forces.

Mr Turnbull had bought the sundial with the house and grounds in 1898.

As for HMS Revenge, she continued to serve with distinction until 1842, being broken up in 1849.

l Whitby Museum, situated in the stunning surroundings of Pannett Park, is presently closed. Find out more on or follow it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.