Members of a Wiltshire shoot helped turn a dream into reality for two fellow Guns
A rural community has come together to help a Wiltshire gamekeeper and a barrister fulfil their dream of starting up a gunmaking and repair workshop.
Nigel Burroughs and Doug Maclean have launched Charlbury Guns (tel 01793 228887) at Church Farm in Hinton Parva, near Swindon, which has been home to a friendly partridge and pheasant shoot for the past two decades.
Mr Maclean, 30, is the Hinton shoot’s gamekeeper and has worked as a gunmaker since 2004. He grew up locally and is delighted to have returned to the area for this new venture. Mr Burroughs, 51, a long-standing Hinton Gun, has been a barrister for 25 years and sees the gunmaking business as a second career in the countryside.
Hinton shoot members hatched a plan to help Mr Maclean set up his own workshop after agreeing that it was time for him to pass on his skills to local talent. The farmer offered the use of a disused dairy building, initially rent free, while various members of the shoot — including electricians, carpenters and an interior designer — have helped to set up the workshop.
Charlbury Guns – a collective effort
Mr Maclean of Charlbury Guns told Shooting Times: “It was a collective effort of everyone on the shoot, helping out to support Nigel and me starting up our business. Our shoot captain, Ben Bracey, did most of the planning and designing. Julian, the farmer whose old dairy building became the workshop and shoot room, and Harry, his son, helped out with the work. David Markland, who recently moved to the village, was the builder. We also had help from Tom and Dominic Seaman, both members of the syndicate, on the building work.”
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The business soon expanded to include finding and restoring hand-picked English sporting guns. Mr Maclean and Mr Burroughs plan to select outstanding examples at auction and bring them back into use. Mr Burroughs said: “It was really good to help everybody out to set up Doug and this is a chance for him to do something on his own. I didn’t just want to help out on the admin side so I thought it would be a nice opportunity to buy and sell a few old English guns, which I’ve always been interested in.
“The members of the trade I’ve met have been really welcoming and you soon recognise the same faces at the auctions. It’s been fascinating to watch Doug work on the guns and see first-hand and understand a little better the craftsmanship and skill that went into making them.”