Object Title

Sword

Sword

Date

1380-1420

Object Number

IX.1

Provenance

Purchased at the Earl of Shrewsbury's sale in 1857.

Physical Description

Bulbous modern pommel, long leather covered grip; straight, circular section quillons expanding slightly towards the tips. Long, two-edged blade with, near the hilt, three shallow fullers which change to two extending to the point. Identified with concentric corrosion, February 2005.

Featured in

Hundred Years War

Dimensions

Dimensions: Overall length: 54.4 in., Blade length: 41.4 in., Width of blade at hilt: 55 mm, Length of cross (quillons): 336 mm Weight: 5 lb. 4 oz.

Inscriptions and Marks

On blade: on each face, a series of marks inlaid in brass, from the hilt: a motif, possibly a flying bird, beast (lion passant?), a helm with a pair of horns as a crest (in the German manner) and a sword - see illus. in ffoulkes 1916.

Associations

Places Germany

Bibliographic References

C. ffoulkes, Inventory and Survey of the Armouries of the Tower of London, London, 1916, vol. II, p. 260 (illus. of mark) pommel described as barrel shaped - needs checking.

Notes

The old (Tower) Medieval Gallery label (dismantled from 1994) dated this sword late 15th century, and the separate label for the similar IX.2 (displayed with a composite late, 15th-century German armour in the same case) had the same date.
There are no very likely lots in the Alton Towers (Earl of Shrewsbury's) sale, unless it was '965: A powerful two-handed fighting sword, engraved'.
According to Dillon 1909 Inventory, it is IX.2 that came from Alton Towers sale! Were both (or neither) purchased then?
ffoulkes describes the pommel as barrel shaped - whereas the pommel now on the sword is the same general form as that on IX.2 (described by ffoulkes as 'pear-shaped').
The beast and possible flying bird motifs form part of the mark on the similar blade of IX.2, and also on the probably once similar, but now cut-down, blade of IX.163. Similar motifs also occur on the blade of the very large bearing bearing sword of the Sempills of Eliestoun in the Museum of Scotland (no. H.LA 6).
The blades of IX.1, 2 and 163 all have three fullers (merging to 2 fullers in the case of the IX.1 & 2 - CHECK 163)). The general form of the blades is generally similar to the very large blades of IX.1024 and IX.1025 but these latter two have only a single fuller; there is, however, a possible link with the blade of IX.163 in that the marks on IX.1024 and 1025 inorporate three gothic script 'minims', similar to the five 'minims' on IX.163.
Cf. a sword in Basle Museum, Cat No. 173 (with side rings on quillons) and 181 (full reference?).