Object Title

Crossbow

Crossbow

Date

1700-1799

Object Number

XI.9

Physical Description

Brass panels, cord damaged. Of large size for use with a windlass. Powerful steel bow, stamped with a mark, passing through the tiller and fastened by a stout bow irons which also hold the stirrup in position. The irons secured by transverse wedges. The tiller is bordered by a line of bone inlay on each face; the quarrel groove is of the same material. The nut socket and side plates are of brass, the latter extend down the palm-rest, engraved and fretted in a pattern of lions and foliage. The nut is a wood replacement retained by a grub screw. A cheek-and-thumb-rest is fitted above the rear end of the stock. Improved form of lock with set-trigger mechanism, the trigger guard of brass and steel is massive in the style of the trigger of more primitive types.

Dimensions

Dimensions: Overall length: 44 in. (111.8 cm), Span: 27.9 in. (70.9 cm) Weight: 18 lb. 2 oz.

Component parts

Associations

Places Europe

Notes

A similar mark appears on bows in the ' Museo Stibbert (1880)' and the 'Bernishen Historischen Museum (1791)' dated respectively 1763 and 1766.
The 1916 Inventory states that this bow was presented by E. Leslie Esq., of the E. India Co, about 1850. However, the earliest reference to the bow and its associated windlass is in the 1857 Remain (I 21):
'Stirrup Cross Bow of the 15th century with Moulinet and Pulleys presented by
the Board of Ordinance 21st Feb'y 1829 by E. Leslie Esq., of Hon. East India
Company's Civil Service'.
The Remain also states that it was on show 'over and by the arches' in the New Room. The date of presentation is confirmed by WO 44/401 which shows Lesley offered the crossbow to the Tower in February 1829 and requested permission to purchase 2 spare lances. The purchase was agreed and the lances sold for 10/- each.