Object Title





Object Number



Purchased June 1991.

Physical Description

The frontally asymmetrical hilt has a hollow, spherical pommel, made in two equal halves, brazed together, and decorated with eight applied, longitudinal, decorative ribs. The end of the tang stands slightly proud, suggesting that a washer at the top of the pommel has been lost. The guard, which is composed of round-section bars, has a pair of quillons recurved at right angles to the plane of the blade, and with domed knop terminals, the forward one damaged. Outside the hand the main knuckle-guard is joined to a side knuckle by two bars crossing in saltire with a small roughly rectangular plate at the junction. The plate is decorated with two fairly wide horizontal channels; the central part between having convex ends. A rear guard joins the end of the side knuckle-guard with the rear quillon. A thumb-guard joins the root of the forward quillon with the side knuckle-guard, near its root. Inside the hand, a diagonal bar joins the end of the main knuckle-guard nearest the pommel with the rear quillon, opposite the junction with the rear-guard. A short bar joins the centre of the diagonal bar with the thumb-guard. The fairly recent grip is bound with cord, and covered with brown velvet over hair stuffing.

Parts of the surface of the pommel and the root end of the forward quillon retain traces of what appears to be black paint.

The plain, straight, single edged blade has false edge for approx. the last 115 mm (4.5 in) and a rounded back. A crude, narrow fuller runs from the hilt, close to the back, and extends for about two thirds of the total length. The blade now has a rounded tip (original tip missing).

Condition on acquisition: All surfaces very coroded; noticably deep corosion on the rear-guard, the thumb-guard and at the base of the inside of the blade. Several nicks in cutting edge of blade (three standing proud but beaten back into blade by Conservation 04/10/1991). The velvet covering of the grip is coming away.


Dimensions: Overall length: 1030 mm (40.1/2 in), blade length: 880 mm (34.7 in), blade width: 33 mm (1.3 in) Weight: 1100 gm (2 lb 6 oz)


Places England
Events Gloriana


The guard is very similar to IX.1404 (excavated from the moat of Pembridge Castle). For the place of this hilt in the development of the basket-hilt, see C. Blair, 'The Early Basket-Hilt in Britain', in D.H. Caldwell (ed.), 'Scottish Weapons and Fortifications 1100-1800', Edinburgh, 1981, esp. pp.197, fig.94, 207, 210, fig.106, 213, fig.111. To the other examples of this type of hilt cited by Blair may be added one in a French private collection, formed of flattened bars (Royal Armouries Neg. Nos A3/2424, and A3/242?). The pommel is very similar to two detached examples, IX.3745 and IX.3746 (the latter in parts and both excavated condition). Also very similar is IX.4427 (acquired 1993. From the River Thames at Southwark Bridge), and a sword from the wreck of the Mary Rose (sunk 1545). Also apparently very similar although with no inner guard, is a sword from Durham University Oriental Museum (see photos on inv. file for IX.4427).