Object Title

Sword and scabbard

Sword and scabbard



Object Number



Purchased from Howard Rickets Ltd in April 1975

Physical Description

Hilt: of russetted iron, decorated all over with foliate interlace patterns in gold counterfeit damascening.

pommel: facetted urn shape with prominent tang button,

guard: comprising knuckle guard, of flattened section with central baluster moulding, integral with a spatulate rear quillon and a large rectangular quillon block with two arms which curve towards the blade and terminate between the lobes of the shell guard.

shell guard: double lobed, each lobe with a kidney shaped recess facing the hand.

Blade: hollow ground triangular section, etched and gilt with figures and inscriptions:
on one side:
'Vincere aut mori' and ' Si Deus Pro/Nobis/quis Contranos/1651' above the figure of a mounted trooper. Below the figure, the words 'Achilles Graecus' with a figure of Achilles.
On another side, the inscription
'Fide sed cui vide, Regere seipsum summa sapienta' above a mounted trooper and
'Anibal Cartagus' above a portrait of Hannibal.

scabbard : wood, covered with leather and fitted with its original locket decorated en suite with the hilt and a replacement chape.

CHECK ALL AGIANST Norman and Wilson 1982.


Dimensions: Sword: Overall length: 1010 mm Blade length: 825 mm Scabbard: Overall length: 846 mm Weight: Sword: 615 g; Scabbard: 128 g


Bibliographic References

J. Booker, A History of the Ancient Chapel of Birch in the Manchester Parish, Chetham Society, 1859, p. 50.

A Borg, 'The Sword of Major General Charles Worsley',The Antiquaries Journal, LV, 1975, pp 413-4, pl LXXXVIII.

A.V.B. Norman and C.M. Barne, The Rapier and Small-Sword, 1460-1820, London etc., 1980, p.201.

A.V.B. Norman and G.M. Wilson, Treasures from the Tower of London, [Norwich], 1982, pp. 50-51, No 24 (illus.).

P. Hammond, Royal Armouries Official Guide, 2nd (rev'd) edn, London, 1993, p. 40, right (col. ill., hilt and top half of blade - 'belonged by tradition to ... Worsley ... hilt ... perhaps Dutch, the blade ... is German, dated 1651').

D. Blackmore, 'Arms and the Man', Royal Armouries Yearbook, I, 1996, pp. 107-110, at p. 108, illus. fig. 3 (det. hilt) - includes illus. of portrait of Sir Charles Worsley (d.1656) (fig. 4) and brief biographical details.

C. Paggiarino, The Royal Armouries, masterpieces of medieval and renaissance arms and armour, Milan, 2011 volume 2


From the collection of Wing Commander Carill-Worsley. According to family legend, this sword belonged to Charles Worsley, Major General in Crowell's army, who commanded the detachment which expelled the long parliament in April 1653. Worsley died at St James' on 12th June 1856 and was buried in Henry VII chapel in Westminster Abbey. His life is included in J. Booker, 'A History of the Ancient Chapel of Birch in the Manchester Parish', Chetham Society, 1859 (copy in RA Library).