Object Title

Short Sword - Baselard

Short Sword - Baselard


mid-15th century

Object Number



Excavated from Queenhithe in 1987

Physical Description

Wooden hilt of roughly H or I shaped profile and round section. The pommel is elongated on one side, being rounded off on top to accommodate the wrist more comfortably, while the other side curves gently underneath to meet the flat top. A ferrous metal plate is secured to the flat top of the pommel. Four brass pins secure the grip to the tang. The quillons are convex, arcing down towards the hand, and has a ferrous metal ferrule on the blade side. The blade is straight and single edged, with a varying profile. A long ricasso gives the forte of the blade a triangular section, but about 1/3 along the length of the blade this softens into curved edge along one face.


Inlaying, Engraving



BladeLength559 mm
OverallLength690 mm
OverallWeight560 g

Inscriptions and Marks

An inlayed panel of brass wth the inscription +Naede Dann+ This could translate from an old Germanic dialect as, 'Help me then' or 'So help me', or most probably 'Grace then'. This probably derived from the more common `Maria Hilf Uns` (or variations of) inscriptions sometimes found on germanic swords.
bottom of the blade on one face
inlay and engraving


Bibliographic References

Dorling Kindersley, Weapon. A visual history of arms & armour, Dorling Kindersley Ltd, London, 2006, pp. 64-5 (col. illus., 2nd from top).


A comparable example, albeit with a double edged blade, was found in Brooks Wharf, directly adjacent to Queenhithe, and now resides in the Museum of London (No. 7553)
There is a second comparable example within the Museum of London collection, with a similar single edged blade (80.34). Also from the Thames.
A third, now missing most of its blade, with an almost identical hilt (A16643). From the London Wall.
Several similar examples exist in Swiss institutions, particularly the Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum Zurich, (No. LM.16211 being an excellent example of the type.)

Known within Switzerland as a Schweizerdegen (Swiss Sword). It is likely that the Schweizerdegen was a regional variation of the baselard, peculiar to the Swiss Confederacy in the second half of the 15th century.

Diebold Schilling's Speitzer Chronik repeatedly depicts this type of edged weapon and often uses it as a way of distinguishing between the Swiss and foreigners.


The collections data published on Royal Armouries Collections Online has been compiled over the life of the museum. We are aware that some of the records reflect ideas that are now outdated or contain terminology that may now be considered discriminatory or offensive. We are actively taking steps to resolve these issues and will review and update records accordingly. Please contact us to improve our knowledge of the collection or draw our attention to any material that you believe to be discriminatory or offensive by using the "improve our records" button above.