Hidden away in the small Lancastrian village of Hesketh bank , in the heart of the rural Lancashire lies Longhthorne Gunmakers. Somewhat understated and discretely tucked away in what was once an old barn which now houses a cramped several million pounds worth of high tech equipment, hardly the sort of set up you would expect to find at such a location.
It is here that James Longthorne Stewart aided by his wife Elaine and Daughter Chloe and their small team manufacture the Longthorne shotguns entirely in house. Longthorne has rapidly become a brand synonymous with quality and luxury and this is acknowledged by way of the number of high profile clients this small company currently has on its books, from Heads of State to Leaders in Industry to name but a few.
Having hailed from a toolmaking background James started designing his guns in 2006 with an aim of producing an innovative English shotgun of uncompromising quality. His plans gathered momentum as the recession hit allowing Longthorne to launch the first model in 2010 at that years CLA Games Fair and has been overwhelmed by the response and support they have had for their products ever since.
Their signature gun ‘the Hesketh’ 12 bore over/under is named after its birthplace and is their entry level gun. Like all their guns it has a true sidelock mechanism, 3lb trigger pulls, 3” chambered, has assisted opening and closing and London proofed for magnum steel up to 7/8th choke. Longthorne are the only ‘English’ gun manufacturer currently proofing their guns for Superior Steel in the UK.
The company launched their Deluxe model in 2011, which incorporates all the above attributes and a deep ancanthus style scroll engraving
In 2011 Longthorne were commissioned to make 4 guns celebrating the heritage of Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire for The Duchess of Rutland, these guns Known as ‘The Rutland’ now form part of their premium range, along with any bespoke guns. An exciting commission indeed which involved taking inspiration from the castle. The Rutland guns incorporate the Manners family crest, ducal coronet and the Peacock which symbolises Belvoir Castle combined with florets and scroll work found within Belvoir. The company have recently delivered a pair of ‘special’ Deluxe guns to Lord Coke of Holkham Hall in Norfolk.
Longthorne also do all their own engraving work which is the responsibility of James and Elaines daughter Chloe 26 who completed a degree at Manchester after having studied art, photography, music and geography at Lancashire’s Runshaw College before joining the family business in 2007. She has a natural artistic talent and is responsible for the designs, which can include anything from a totally bespoke design to personalisation of an existing style. Chloe was fortunate and privilaged to have been mentored for several months by one of Englands top engravers, who shall remain nameless by request, when she started designing guns and her skills have flourished ever since.
The Longthorne guns are ‘special’ in a number of ways their most unique and intriguing feature being their barrels which are quite unlike any others ever made. A precision instrument which is light and yet strong, they are constructed from a single piece of high specification steel with absolutely no soldered joints and manufactured to exacting tolerances as are the rest of the their guns, this design significantly reduces felt recoil and muzzle flip.
Onwards and upward, the company concede that they have outgrown their current premises and are currently looking for larger more exclusive premises to augment their future plans