Object Title

Sword

Sword

Date

1600-1699

Object Number

IX.937

Physical Description

Brass hilt

Inscriptions and Marks

blade inscribed SHOTLE BRIDG

Associations

Places England

Notes

The manaufacture of swords by immigrant German workers at Shotley Bridge, County Durham, began in shortley before 1687 and survived with difficulty until 1832 (C. Blair, 'European and American Arms c.1100-1850', London, Batsford, 1962, p. 19). There are several detailed studies which can can be found by searching on 'Shotley' in the Royal Armouries Library catalogue. See also Edged Weapon enquiry file: Sword Manufacture, Britain, Shotley Bridge. There seems to be some confusion about the mark used by the Shotley Bridge makers. Sometimes referred to as a running wolf and sometimes as a running fox, On several blades of about 1700 (e.g. the present sword - for others see below) the mark is stylized, probably composed of several separatly struck lines, and resembles that used by the smiths at Solingen. A running fox mark (struck as a single impression and including a fox's bushy tale) was used by Samuel Harvey and other Birmingham makers, probably from about 1750, possibly earlier (see entry for IX.373, under Notes) and, when ocurring on its own or with the letters SH (almost certainly for Samuel Harvey), has sometimes been identified as for Shotley Bridge (e.g. Dufty and Borg 1974: 28, under Pls 68 a, c & d; marks illus. in Pl. 109) but there appears to be no evidence for this. Care needs, therefore, to be taken in attributing blades to Shotley Bridge when the name (often, as on the present sword, spelt SHOTLE BRIDG) is not inscribed on the blade.
The blades of the following swords have very similar blades, all marked Shotle(y) Bridg(e) and with the same, small running wolf/fox mark:
IX.937 (present) - square start to central fuller.
IX.1399 - square(?) start to central fuller (fuller worn - this blade only seen in case) IX.1400 - rounded start to central fuller.
AL.23 55 - square start to central fuller.
The following blade is very similar:
IX.1401 - slightly narrower blade and no fuller.
Other Shotley Bridge blades in RA to be checked. IX.2789 (with earlier Mortuary hilt) is displayed in its scabbard, so blade not easily visible.
The blade of IX.1174 has in ther past been identified as from Shotley Bridge on the basis of its mark alone, but this is unconvivning, see entry under that number (under Notes) for further details. Bridge