Object Title

Sword and scabbard

Sword and scabbard



Object Number



No information in Typed Inventory. Presumed Tower arsenal.

Physical Description

General type description: The brass hilt consists of a flattened basket guard pierced with a series of triangles round the base of the blade and with three crescents where the guard curves upwards to form a knuckle-guard. The end of the knuckle-guard nearer the pommel is pierced for a sword knot; there is a small down-turned quillon at the rear of the basket. The brass backpiece is made in one with the beaked pommel and the wooden grip is covered with dark brown leather which has raised ribs formed either by grooves carved in the wood or by string wound round it. There is a brass ferrule at the end nearer the blade.

Long, almost straight, single-edged blade with a broad, shallow fuller on each face, and terminating in a hatchet point. The buff-piece is lacking (only mentioned below if present).

Brass scabbard with suspension hook on the outside and a separate mouthpiece secured by two iron screws. The screws can be of ferrous metal (only mentioned below when not so) or brass, though some are clearly later replacements. The mouthpiece top is sometimes curved or slightly curved to mate with the curved face of the guard.

Variations, losses damage etc: slight distortion to guard on outside; grooved wooden grip, leather covering lacking; patches of rust corrosion on blade; scabbard slightly compressed in area of frog hook with screw damage to edges (all this caused by display mounting) and frog hook broken; scabbard mouthpiece lacking both screws; mouthpiece top curved.


Dimensions: Sword: overall length, approx.: 1020 mm (40.1 in), blade length, along back: 890 mm (35.0 in), blade width, by hilt: 38 mm (1.5 in), Scabbard: length: 909 mm (35.8 in) Weight: Sword: 1190 gm (2 lb 10 oz), Scabbard: 800 gm (1 lb 13 oz)

Inscriptions and Marks

On blade, on outside, near hilt, stamped: crown over 4.On blade, on back, by hilt, stamped: [H]ADLEY (Hadley) (the Y uncertain).On scabbard, on inside, near mouth, inscribed engraved in an oval cartouche with a vertically hatched ground: 'JosH H REDDELL & Co / Manufacturers / BIRMINGHAM.'.


Places Britain

Bibliographic References

C ffoulkes, Inventory and Survey of the Armouries of the Tower of London, London, 1916, II, p. 293 (group entry for IX.256-314).

C Blair, European and American Arms, c.1100-1850, London, 1962, pp. 94-5, line illus. II(l) - general description and discussion of pattern (citing nos IX.256-314) with drawing of example of hilt and part of blade.

W.E. May and P.G.W. Annis, Swords for Sea Service, 2 vols (cont. pag.), London, 1970, p.


For this pattern generally and for other examples in the Royal Armouries, see entry for IX.256, under Notes. It is unlikely that many of the swords of this pattern in the Royal Armouries are now with their original scabbards: this has not normally been noted unless the fit is especially good or especially bad.
W.E. May and P.G.W. Annis, 'Swords for Sea Service', 2 vols (cont. pag.), London, 1970, II, p. 317, record two, aparently separate, firms of Hadley in Birmingham, one, Thomas, of 47 Bull St (gunmaker and swordmaker) in 1781, and another, also Thomas, of Newhall St (jeweller and chape-maker), in 1781 and 1793-1808. They also (ibid., p. 79) record orders of cutlasses by the Board of Ordnance from T. Hadley in 1804 and 'Hadley' in 1808. D.F. Harding, Smallarms of the East India Company 1600-1856, vol. I (Foresight Books, London, 1997), p. 312 records Thomas Hadley as active until 1814. In 1816, his son George succeeded to his father's share of orders from the EIC and he continued to supply the Company until 1842 when it was found, during an inspection, that he was not a manufacturer and that he had no establishement whatsoever (in other words, he was a middle man), and he was struck off the EIC's list of suppliers the same year.
One of the stamps used by Hadley had upper case letters but with the H and A conjoined (see for example IX.303 - it is likely the same stamp was used on other swords of this (Cavalry Type J) but this has not yet been checked. In several instances the HA is illegible (e.g. IX.263, IX.264) and where only the letters DLE or ADLE appear it has sometimes been mistakenly read as MOLE (e.g. Typed Inventory for IX.293; on which the maker's name correctly reads [H]ADLE[Y]) (PJL, 30/08/02).
For general information on the maker Reddell, see entry for IX.256, under Notes.