Object Title

Dagger and sheath - Dudgeon dagger and Sheath

Dagger and sheath - Dudgeon dagger and Sheath



Object Number



Came from a 'house clearance' according to the dealer, though no further information was provided

Physical Description

Hilt of burr bog-oak with grip of fluted octagonal section, made in one with a similar, but wider, domed pommel with iron tang-button, and with characteristic haunches at the opposite end. The undersides of the haunches and edges of their outer facesf nearest the blade are faced with iron fillets which are decorated with groups of incised transverse lines. At either end, the grip is encircled by a ring of small holes, probably originally containing decorative metal (silver ?) studs.

Double-edged Blade, with a prominent medial ridge on each side, decorated with three etched panels containing and surrounded by foliage scrolls. The panel nearest the hilt contains a Latin inscription, possibly originally reading 'Nil temere [tenta] nec timide' ([Try] nothing rashly or timidly) and the date 1603

Tooled dark brown leather scabbard, incorporating a smaller scabbard on the outside for a by-knife (missing). The smaller scabbard has three groups of three raised, transverse bands, and another raised band encircles the main scabbard near the tip. On the inside of the scabbard, near the mouth, are two, short, integral tubes for the cords by which such daggers were suspended from a belt.

The grip has a longitudinal split extending from the pommel towards the blade (no doubt caused by the rusting of the tang inside the grip).





BladeLength347 mm
Overall SheathLength356 mm
Overall SheathWeight80 g
Overall DaggerLength457 mm
Overall DaggerWeight276 g
OverallLength475 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

On blade, in panel near the hilt
Nil temere [tenta] nec timide' ([Try] nothing rashly or timidly)
On blade, in panel near the hilt


Bibliographic References

[A.] L. Thompson, Daggers and Bayonets. A History, Spellmount, Staplehurst, 1999, p. 47 (illus., full length and det. blade dec).

Dorling Kindersley, Weapon. A visual history of arms & armour, Dorling Kindersley Ltd, London, 2006, p. 131 (col. illus., top).


For dudgeon daggers generally, see C. Blair and J. Wallace, 'Scots or still English ?', 'Scottish Art Review', 1963, and details of further examples in Inv. File for this object.