Object Title

Sword and Scabbard - Basket hilt

Sword and Scabbard - Basket hilt



Object Number



Purchased from Christie's 1981

Physical Description

Steel basket hilt, consisting of a spherical pommel without tang-button or finial, and a basket of primitive type made up of flat bars, including three knuckle guards - the central one linked to the each of the others by a saltire centred on a disk, and a diagonal bar to the rear on each side. On each saltire the arms nearer to the pommel are linked together by an arched bar. The portions of the guard in front of the hand, and the areas enclosed by the parts of the side-bars nearer the blade are filled with thin iron plate. There is no wrist guard.The ends of the knuckle guards simply rest against the pommel. Remains of a flat wooden grip, wormed and presumably later.

The blade is long, straight, double edged and of diamond section, with a ricasso arched towards the guards and stamped on each face with two illegible marks.

Wooden scabbard covered with rough brown polished leather, crudely tooled with chevrons. The mounts are missing. It has apparently been lengthened by some three inches at the mouth, perhaps in its working lifetime.





OverallLength1124 mm
OverallLength1270 mm
OverallWeight1503 g
OverallWeight255 g
BladeLength1130 mm

Inscriptions and Marks



Bibliographic References

C Mazansky, British basket-hilted swords. A typology of basket-type sword hilts, Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 2005, p. 53, type A14, pommel 'basket-hilt' type IX (illus.): 'c.1600'.


Such very long blades are occasionally found fitted in axcavated basket hilts. Two examples are in the Archaeological Museum, Cambridge.