Object Title

Sword

Sword

Date

1800-1830

Object Number

IX.1492

Provenance

Apparently first accessioned when found un-numbered in Store, 1976; probably Tower arsenal.

Physical Description

Mameluke-type, all-brass hilt, lion's head pommel, crown on ecusson. Hilt of brass, cast in one piece, consiting of: a 'pommel' in the form of a lion's head, with a small ring projecting between the jaws (see Notes); an oval-sectioned grip divided into four wide horizontal ribs (not counting the base of the 'pommel'); cross-guard with langets and fairly short quillons, the terminals recurved in the plane of the blade and the arms decorated (on both sides) with relief acanthus foliage and the ecusson (on both sides) with a relief British royal crown, flanked by two small, stylized roses and with a small pellet below.

Straight, double-edged, blade, almost parallel sided for the greater part of its length with a slight narrowing towards the mid-point, and finishing in a spear tip. A narrow central fuller on both faces rises approx. 70 mm (2 3/4 in.) from the hilt and extends for approx. 180 mm (7 in.) and beyond this there is a slight central ridge.

Later alterations/damage: a hole has been drilled through the grip of the hilt (nearer the 'pommel') and countersunk for a screw head on the inside; and a second hole drilled through the centre of the blade, approx. 100 mm (4 in.) from the hilt (for the like function of these holes, see Notes).

Dimensions

Dimensions: Overall length: 698 mm (27 1/2 in.), Blade length: 557 mm (21 15/16 in.), Blade width, by hilt: 36 mm (29/32 in.) Weight: 925 g (2 lb 1/2 oz)

Inscriptions and Marks

On the inside of the grip, on the rib nearest the blade, lightly engraved in Italic script: No 15.

Associations

Places Britain

Notes

The Typed Inventory suggested the ring projecting from between the lion's jaws of the 'pommel' was for the attachment of a sword knot but it seems too small for this. It is more likely to have been for the attachment of a chain linking the pommel and the forward quillon terminal, but the latter lacks any equivalent ring for the attachment of the other end of the chain, though the ring here might possibly have been removed, either at the time of manufacture or later, if it was felt that a chain was too likely to suffer damage in service. However, an example which retained its chain (Kent Sales 1991, see below) had this end of the chain mounted by means of a hole drilled in the quillon terminal itself.
The holes drilled throught the hilt and blade are no doubt for mounting the sword in a trophy display.
There are at least four swords (including the present sword) of this same pattern in the Royal Armouries and all have a number engraved on the inside of the grip in the same position and in a similar Italic script:
IX.1492 - No. 15
IX.7251 - No. 5
IX.7252 - No. 6
IX.8132 - No. 9
Another example was offfered for sale at Kent Sales (nr. Dartford), Special Sale Supplement 175, 16 August 1991, Lot 43, illus. in Plate [XI] and on front cover of catalogue. It retained its chain linking the ring in the pommel with a swivel loop secured through a hole on the forward quillon terminal. From the illustration and description (cat. p.12) it appears to have been 'identical' to IX.1492 (except for the chain guard) but there is no mention of a number engraved on the grip. The catalogue compiler commented that the blade is 'almost identical to the P.1837 Brunswick Sword Bayonet/Constabulary Sword Bayonet'. Another sword with hilt of somewhat similar design, with eylets for a chain guard in the same positions but lacking the chain itself, is in the National Army Museum (no. 5704-43, illus. B. Robson, 'Swords of the British Army', 2nd edn, 1996, p. 259, Pl. 226). It has straight quillons and the crown on the ecccuson is surrounded by three pellests at each of the cardinal points.