Object Title

Sword and scabbard

Sword and scabbard


1724-1725 and late 18th century

Object Number



Purchased from the Beriah Botfield collection at Norton Hall, Northamptonshire, with the aid of the National Art Collections Fund, 1942 (Norton Hall No. 310).

Physical Description

The silver hilt, from a hanger or hunting sword, consists of a cap-pommel which extends down the back of the ebony grip in the form of a bearded head and a fluted back-strap. The knuckle-bow, quillon=-block and the quillon are chiselled with masks in relief. A flattened oval washer (CHK) between the qulillon-block and blade supports, outside the hand, a convex shell, inclined to lie parallel to the plane of the blade and cast and chiselled with a bearded mask. Hallmarks are found on the knuckle-guard and washer (see below).

Associated blade with extensive corrosion markings, from a military sword, originally at least partly blued (traces remain) and lightly etched and gilt with foliage and, on the inside a crowned GR monoogram and, on the outside, the British Royal arms (too coroded for furthewr identification).

Black leather scabbard, lacking it mounts. It has a slight square swelling not quite half way down, possibly a repaired break.


Dimensions: Overall length: 921 mm (36 1/4 in), blade length: 793 mm (31 3/16 in), blade width: 25 mm (0.9 in) Weight: Sword: 475 g (1 lb 1 oz), Scabbard: 80 g (2.8 oz)

Inscriptions and Marks

On hilt, on inside of knuckle-guard, stamped hallmarks as follows, from pommel: a possible illegible mark; a script MC (or possibly MG) separated by a pellet; another mark, possibly the Sterling Standard lion passant guardant; the (London) date letter I, for 1724-1725.On hilt, on washer, on side towards blade, stamped hallmarks: Sterling Standard mark; maker's mark, as on knuckle-guard, partly obscured by blade.


Bibliographic References

A.R. Dufty and A. Borg, European Swords and Daggers in the Tower of London, London, 1974, p. 26, Pl. 58a.

L Southwick, London silver-hilted swords, their makers, suppliers and allied traders, with directory, Leeds, Royal Armouries, 2001: 280, pl. 31 (hilt and base of blade only). PLATE CAPTION MAKES NO MENTION OF MAKER OR MARK - TO BE INVESTIGATED.


A number of similar hilts exist, e.g. IX.854 (q.v.) with stag's horn grip; another with a stag's horn grip brought in for an opinion in October 1982 (note in IBE); IX.853 with a domed cap-pommel lacking the bearded head on the shell; IX.2834, with a brass hilt similar to the latter but with radiating boss design on the pommel and shell (no bearded heads).
According to a note by A.V.B.N. the MC mark is not in A.G. Grimwade, 'London Goldsmiths 1697-1837: their Marks and Lives', 1st edn, London, 1976 (2nd edn not yet checked) but no. 3736 (pp.264-5) looks similar. It occurs on a 'chased sword-hilt dated 1745': it is 'unidentified' but '?London or possibly foreign. The Typed Inventory attributed the mark to Matthew Cooper but the marks shown for Matthew Coopers I and II in Grimwade are all different ('op. cit', nos 378, 393, 2003 and 2004). INF. FROM SOUTHWICK 2001? - TO BE INVESTIGATED.
A note (by B. Clifford) in the Typed Inventory says that a similarly decorated and hallmarked hilt was brought into the Royal Armouries by a private owner (name given) in October 1982, but the blade differed, the grip was of stag-horn. It had a tooled leather scabbard, very similar to that of IX.852 but the chape was missing. The note refers to a note in the Inv. File but nothing could be found there March 1998 (PJL). It is not clear whether 'similarly ... hallmarked' means it had the same maker's mark. (PJL).