Powder Holder Caps


Lead powder holder caps are of similar form to powder flask nozzles, also having two loops for attachment, but with a flat top, without any integral nozzle.  They could either be cast or made from sheet and were probably attached to wooden holders (Courtney 1988, 2).  These capped holders were suspended from a bandolier via a cord which was threaded through the two loops on the caps and round two loops on the holders so as to retain the caps.  Each holder contained a measure of gunpowder; as implied we see the caps rather than the perishable holders they would have sealed.  Average measurements quoted below relate to caps for measures for muskets; caps of the same form, but far larger overall dimensions, are known, presumed to be for larger bore guns (for example see SOM-FDCB81).

PAS object type to be used

Use POWDER MEASURE for these objects (‘powder cap’ or ‘powder holder’ not being options)


Powder holder caps flare from their tops, where the loops are located, to their base; they have a trapezoidal cross-section.  They are often found squashed, but tend to measure c. 30 by 20 mm at their base, and are c. 20 mm high.


They date to the post-medieval period with many used during the English Civil war of the mid 17th century


Post-medieval powder holder cap (SOM-D179C1)
Post-medieval powder holder cap (SOM-D179C1) (Copyright: Somerset County Council; CC-BY licence)

Search for all examples of post-medieval powder holder caps

Key references

Courtney 1988