Object Title

Dagger and sheath

Dagger and sheath



Object Number



Purchased from: D.S. Davies (dealer), 12 February, 1988.

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 faces of 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 (CHECK again against object).

Tooled dark brown leather scabbard, incorporating a smaller scabbard on the outside for a byknife (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.

Condition on acquisition: Generally good; excepting loss of byknife and studs from grip, noted above. Also, 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).


Dimensions: Dagger: Overall length: 458 mm (18.05 in.), Blade length: 347 mm (13.7 in.), Blade width: 28 mm (1.1 in.), Scabbard: Length: 35.4 cm. (13.9 in.) Weight: dagger: 260 g; scabbard: 75 g

Inscriptions and Marks

Inscription on blade - see above.


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.