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Master Guns & Master Gunners

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Master Guns & Master Gunners

Tales of the ‘Breydonners’, the gentlemen wildfowlers and punt gunners that once lived and worked on Breydon Water near Great Yarmouth.

Documentary 1972 21 mins

Overview

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From the collection of:

Logo for East Anglian Film Archive

Documentary about the wildfowlers of Breydon Water, the legendary characters, with equally legendary names, such as “Pintail" Thomas, "Stork” Thacker, “Admiral” Gooch, and “Punt” Palmer. Punt gunners worked the lonely and often treacherous marshes and estuaries of the East Anglian coast, to search out wildfowl, which was destined for the local butchers.

The mid-nineteenth century was the heyday of the punt gunner, however, in 1880, the Wild Birds’ Protection Act was enforced, prohibiting wildfowlers to shoot any wild birds between March and August. Consequently, a living from the estuary became difficult to obtain, and the punt gunner tradition died out. Breydon Water, once a wildfowler’s stronghold, is now the UK’s largest protected wetland.