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Purchased at auction at Sotheby's (London) sale, 28 October 1987, Lot 123 (illus. in cat.).

Physical Description

Silver hilt dated 1743-1744
The silver hilt has a domed cap-pommel with a conical tang-button on its own stand. The D-shaped knuckle-guard, of oval section, widens towards the centre and pegs into the base of the pommel, by which there is a small flourish. The short rear quillon has a lobate terminal turned towards the blade. The knuckle-guard and rear quillon are joined by a sleeve which is made in one with a ferrule at the base of the grip. Between the sleeve and the blade is a broad oval washer which supports, outside the hand, a large shell turned to lie parallel with the blade.

The chased decoration to the pommel, centre of the knuckle-guard, sleeve, ferrule, rear quillon and shell consists cheifly of sprays of scrolls, sometimes separated by roped bands. The shell has scrolled edges and is decorated with a sea-shell motif, outside which are three groups of radiating convex lines separated by concave channels.

The conical, polished horn grip is formed of two main pieces flanking the tang in the plane of the blade; separated by narrower fillets, each decoarted with an incised channel along its edges.

The curved, single-edged blade has a 25.4 mm (1 in) ricasso and a broad, shallow fuller by the back, extending the whole length of the blade. There is a decayed red felt buff between the blade and the hilt.

The black leather scabbard has wooden fillets and silver mounts comprising a shallow top-locket with a large circular frog stud, and a chape (fixed by two rivets) with button terminal. The frog-stud is embossed and chased to resemble a flower with a roped border. The locket and chape are decorated on both sides with a pounced and chased design resembling an Oriental dome. The back of the locket is engraved (pounced), 'Hervett[?] [or possibly Hewett] / Temple Barr'. The upper half of the scabbard is tooled with saltres, deer slots, and transverse bands. The lower 220 mm (8.75 in) is restored in new leather and has similar, but simplified, decoration.

Condition when catalogued: Generally good. Forward half of blade has been badly rust-pitted and the whole blade probably over-cleaned. The original scabbard leather is beginning to split and fray along its forward edge, and there is some cracking on the rear edge near the mouth.


Dimensions: Sword: Overall length: 765 mm (30.1 in), width of hilt (in plane of blade): approx. 95 mm (3 3/4 in), blade length: 633 mm (24.9 in), blade width: 32 mm (1.25 in), Scabbard: Overall length: 640 mm (25.2 in), Sword in Scabbard: Overall length: approx. 775 mm (30 1/4 in) Weight: Sword: 415 gm (14 1/2 oz), Scabbard: 110 gm (4 oz)

Inscriptions and Marks

On hilt, on inside of knuckle-guard, near pommel, stamped: the maker's mark, probably 'PM'; the lion passant guardant (Sterling standard mark), the London town mark, and the date letter 'h' for 1743/44.


Bibliographic References

L Southwick, London silver-hilted swords, their makers, suppliers and allied traders, with directory, Leeds, Royal Armouries, 2001[a]: 282, pl. 40 (hilt and base of blade only) - 'maker's mark of Peter Marsh'. INF. ON MAKER NOT YET FULLY EXTRACTED.

L Southwick, 'Some silver-hilted swords by London makers in the Royal Armouries', Royal Armouries Yearbook, 6, 2001[b], pp. 32-54, at p. 39-40, fig. 10 (hilt only). NOT YET EXTRACTED.


W.E. May and P.G.W. Annis, 'Swords for Sea Service', London, 1970, contains no reference to Hennet or Hewett in the list of swordsmiths (II, p. 266 ff.). A. Grimwade, 'London Goldsmiths and their Marks 1697-1837' has no similar mark in the sectionon hilt-makers (p. 407 ff.). Marks for any goldsmiths with initials PM checked in same source but no similar mark found. INF. FROM SOUTHWICK 2001 A & B (identifying the mark as that of Peter Marsh) STILL TO BE ENTERED. IX.2246 is a small-sword by the same maker.
The reading of the name on the scabbard locket was give as Hennett (or possibly Hewett) in the typed inventory (IBE); the reading of Hervett was suggested by L. Southwick (examination 15/07/99), citing another similarly marked scabbard in the Victoria and Albert Museum, No. M.140-1978 (See A. North, 'An introduction to European swords', H.M.S.O., London, 1982, p. 26, fig. 48).