Object Title

Dagger - Left Hand Dagger

Dagger - Left Hand Dagger


late 16th century

Object Number



Excavated from the bed of the Thames at Bull Wharf on 12.02.1978, at a depth of 4.5 feet.

Physical Description

Steel Hilt. The arched quillons curving towards the blade have a double groove chiselled on the outside from quillon block to the terminals. A ring guard projects laterally from the quillon block, consisting of two arms, of similar form to the quillons, joined in the centre by a knop. The ring is filled with a plate pierced with 4 small, circular holes surrounding a concave-faced diamond. Fluted pommel of rounded rectangular elevation and round section. Original grip of wood bound with steel wire.
Blade is striaght and double edged, with a pronounced medial ridge on each side, producing a cruciform section. At the shoulder on the inside of the blade, the ridge is flattened to form a thumb grip. The blade is etched with foliate scrolls within multiple line boarders. On the inside of the blade towards the shoulder is an inscription.


Chiselled, Etching



BladeLength317 mm
OverallLength457 mm
OverallWeight454 g

Inscriptions and Marks

NON VI : SED SAPIENTIA (1)59(5) (Not by force but wisdom)
blade near hilt


Bibliographic References

G.M. Wilson, 'Notes on some early basket-hilted swords', Journal of the Arms and Armour Society, XII, no. 1, March 1986, pp. 1-19, Pls I-XII, at p. 12 (INF. NOT YET EXTRACTED).


Similar dagger in the V&A Museum (On loan from British Museum). This has a conical pommel and a blade bearing the inscription "In my defence God me De...." and the date 1585

X.17 in the Royal Armouries collection is also comparable

A sword illustrated in a portrait in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, said to be of John Shirleyof Isfield and dated 1588, has a similar pommel to that of X.589