Object Title

Dirk and sheath

Dirk and sheath



Object Number



Christopher F Seidler

Physical Description

Gilt brass hilt consisting of pommel-cap of rectangular section with cut corners, and a prominent spherical tang-button; and quillons, flattened at right angles to the plane of the blade and very slightly recurved, terminating in acorn-shaped knobs. Ivory grip of rectangular cross-section with rounded corners, transversly ridged. Gilt brass ferrule at the end nearer the blade
Straight double-edged blade with shallow central fuller beginning 63 mm (2 1/2 in.) from the hilt, and running out 115 mm (4 /12 in.) from the tip.
Scabbard of black leather tooled with saltires, with three gilt brass mounts with bracket -cut edges. The upper two mounts have loose-rings for suspension, and the top locket also has a button for the frog.



Dimensions: Dirk: Overall length: 625 mm (24 5/8 in.), Blade length: 510 mm (20 in.), Scabbard: Length: 20 1/8 in. (513 mm) Weight: Dirk: 1 lb 13 1/2 oz, Scabbard: 6 oz

Inscriptions and Marks

Etched, in 'bright work' only outside the hand from hilt to tip; '1799' in oval, 'Thos Gill' above 'WARRANTED' and in a second oval '1799', all on a striped ground; a female figure (representing Britannia); the owners initials 'JB' in monogram; his crest (five Lochaber axes bound with a fillet or escarf); his motto ('NIL CONSCIRE SIBI') and a vase of stylised foliage. Inside the hand is stylised foliage; the initials 'EEM' (East Essex Militia) in script; a trophy of arms; the Royal monogram 'GR' crowned; swags of fabric and stylised foliage.


Places Britain


The original owner of the dirk was Jonathan Bullock of Faulkbourne Hall, Essex. He served in the Essex Militia, the initials of which ('EM') appear on the blade. Bullock appears as Lieutenant Colonel of the East Essex Militia on its first embodiement on 1 November 1759, but the Army List gives his date of comission as 25 January 1762. He was appointed Colonel of the regiment 21 May 1780. He was the son of a Hamburg merchant, (Whig) MP for Staining, then for Maldon and finally Essex from 1784 until his death in 1809. A portrait of him by Thomas Gainsborough, of about 1780, exists which shows him with small-sword (no dirk) (Collection, Baroness Burton, London).
Burke's 'Dictionary of the Landed Gentry' (1851: p.159) gives the family crest as 'Five Lochaber axes pppr. Bound with an escarf, gu., tassels, or.' and the family motto as 'Nil conscire sibi'('Conscious of no wrong).
See Burrows, JW, 'The Essex Regiment: The Essex Militia', Southend-on-Sea: John H Burrows & Sons, Ltd., p.136. 152