Object Title

Wheellock holster pistol

Wheellock holster pistol



Object Number



From the Norton Hall Collection. Presented by the National Art-Collections Fund, 1942. Formally in the collection of Beriah Botfield (1807 - 1863) at Norton Hall, Northamptonshire. This collection would appear to have been formed in the 1840's. Norton Hall was acquired by Beriah Botfield's grandfather (who died in 1801), Thomas Botfield acquired it from the descendants of Nicholas Breton. Beriah Botfield restored Norton Hall to its former glories. The collection was finally purchased, with the aid of the National Art-Collections Fund, for the nation from Lady Beatrice Thynne on the occasion of her death in 1942. The full sum paid for the collection would appear to have been £2,650. The purchase was negotiated with Lady Weymouth who was acting as attorney for Lord Weymouth (who was away on active service), who was tenant-for-life of the property (the collection had been settled on Lord Weymouth for life).

Physical Description

These pistols have octagonal barrels with three long 'V' shaped flutes at the point where the barrel becomes round. The muzzles are slightly flared and have a convex chamfer. Breeches are stamped with the initials of Zachrias Herold of Dresden and the date, 1587. The underside of the other pistol [XX.1249] has a barrel-forgers stamp. The locks have steel domed wheel-cases with engraved brass borders covered in foliage. They bear very slight traces of gilding. The dog-head bridles are made in gilt brass in the form of clasped hands and there is a pivoting safety catch. The lock plates have the same marks as the barrel. The stocks are ball-butted with blackened surfaces and are covered in raised oval dots, as well as being inlaid with staghorn in the shape of sea monsters. Each butt has a circular silver escutcheon, with an etched foliage and bird design


Dimensions: Overall length: 595 mm; barrel length: 376 mm (14.8 in.) Weight: 4 lb 3 oz


Serial Number None visible


.615 in (20 bore)

Inscriptions and Marks

IC under barrel. ZH on top with a shield and fleur-de-lys


Places Germany


These pistols differ in several details and should perhaps be considered as two of a set rather than as a matched pair. They resemble the pistols made for the guard of the Elector Christian I of Saxony. Valued as a pair. The dog-head bridles were repaired at the Royal Armouries Conservation workshop in 1949.