Object Title

Sword

Sword

Date

1400-1499

Object Number

IX.3683

Provenance

Purchased from Andrew Lumley (dealer), 1st May 1991. Formerly Deposit A123/7. Reported to have been found in the River Dordogne, near the site of the Battle of Castillon (1453).

Physical Description

Deep wheel pommel of Oakeshott type J1, deeply hollowed out in the centre, and with a square tang-button which spreads to a rectangular base which is slightly raised above the top of the pommel. Straight cross of irregular pentagonal section - flat towards the pommel and ridged towards the blade - and with ends turned towards the blade. The mid-point of the cross is slightly ridged; it is also drawn slightly towards the blade and has a small extension like a finger wearing a ring. The grip is missing and the tapering tang is exposed. Fairly short blade, very broad at the hilt, and of flattened diamond section (typical Oakeshott type XVIII).


Condition on acquisition: good excavated condition, but somewhat overcleaned.

Featured in

Hundred Years War

Dimensions

Dimensions: Overall length: 885 mm., Width across quillons: 175 mm (6 7/8 in.), Blade length: 723 mm., Blade width (by hilt): 68 mm. Weight: 1400 gm. (3 lb. 1 1/4 oz.)

Inscriptions and Marks

No visible marks.

Associations

Bibliographic References

Veronica Fiorato and others, Blood red roses. The archaeology of a mass grave from the Battle of Towton AD 1461, Oxford, Oxbow Books, 2000, chapter 10 (by Graeme Rimer), p. 121, fig. 10.3 (full length view).

Kelly de Vries and Robert D. Smith, Weapons and warefare. An illustrated history of their impact, Santa Barbara Ca, ABC Clio, 2007, p. 283 (illus.) (full length view).

Notes

Part of a group of at least eighty swords said to come from the same find-spot. Others in the Royal Armouries collection are: IX.1787 (two-hand sword), IX.2225 (a child's sword?), IX.2226 (Oakeshott type XV), and IX.2638 (single edged blade), IX.5409 (with a straight blade with clipped point, like a falchion). Most of the swords are of Oakeshott types XV or XVIII. For the group generally, see [R.] Ewart Oakeshott, 'A River-Find of 15th Century Swords', in K. Stuber & H. Wetter, 'Blankwaffen...', (Festschrift Hugo Schneider), Zurich 1982, pp.17-32, Oakeshott, 'Further Notes on a River-Find of 15th Century Swords', 'First Park Lane Arms Fair' (Cat), 1984, pp.7-12, and Oakeshott, 'The Swords of Castillon', 'Tenth Park Lane Arms Fair' (Cat.), 1993 pp.7-16.
For Oakeshott's typology generally, see R. E. Oakeshott, 'The Sword in the Age of Chivalry', London, revised edn., London etc., 1981.
Other Type XVIII swords from the same find-spot (some of these may be the same sword appearing on the market at different times): Royal Armouries AL.65, on loan from December 1979 to February 1990 from M. Philippe Missillier (ill. Oakeshott 1985, p.20, no.1, and Oakeshott 1993, p.11, Fig. 5 and [R.] E. Oakeshott, 'Records of the medieval sword', Woodbridge, 1991, p. 177, no. XVIII.6); Deposit A.123 6, offered to the Royal Armouries with IX.3683, being in slightly less good condition, but having traces of red pigment on the pommel; Christies, London, 20th November 1991, Lot 35 (ill. in cat.); Sotheby's, New York, 13th and 15th January 1992, Lot 96 (ill. in cat.); Galerie Fischer, Luzern, 11th and 12th June 1992, Lot 8156 (need to check German to confirm this is a Castillon find, not just similar to those found there); Two on David Oliver's stand at the 10th Park Lane Arms Fair (Oakeshott 1993, the first - p.7, Fig. 1 (left) and p.8, Fig. 2 (left), with remains of red pigment in the pommel; the second - p.10, Fig. 4 (centre)); Christie's, London, 27th October 1993, Lot 120 (ill. in cat.).
Other types from the same find spot (some of these may be the same sword appearing on the market at different times): Sotheby's (New York), 26th May 1992, Lot 413 (Type XV?); one on David Oliver's stand at the 10th Park Lane Arms Fair (Oakeshott 1993, p.7, Fig. 1 (right) and p.8, Fig. 2 (right) (Type XV)); Christie's, London, 27th October 1993, Lot 119 (a short cruciform sword); Sotheby's, Billingshurst, 8 December 1997, Lot 6 (ill.) (Type XV).


NOTE: At present some additional information on swords from the group will be found in the entry for IX.1787, under 'Notes'. This information should in due course be moved to and spliced in with the above information (PJL, 11/02/00).
Examples from this group are also illustrated in [R.] E. Oakeshott, 'Records of the medieval sword', Woodbridge, 1991 (refs not yet extracted - PJL, 23/05/01).