Object Title

Sword

Sword

Date

1400-1499

Object Number

IX.5409

Provenance

Purchased from Andrew Lumley (dealer), 16 March 1993 (first registered 15 May 1995). Formerly Deposit No. A.157 1. Reputed to have been found near the site of the Battle of Castillon (1453).

Physical Description

Iron hilt with faceted, 'scent-stopper' pommel of Oakeshott Type T, which is fitted with the narrow stem at the top, pointing away from the blade. Straight, elegant cross (Oakeshott type 11) of circular section, which swells at the centre over the blade, and then gently tapers before widening out again at the ends to form rounded 'drop-like' terminals. The tang is heavily corroded, although fragments of the wooden grip survive at either end (see Notes for analysis).


The single-edged blade has a well defined ricasso for approximately 50 mm. It appears to be of hexagonal section, with a narrow fuller (10 mm at the widest) at the front, on both sides. Approaching the point, approximately 600 mm from the hilt, the blade widens slightly before narrowing to a clipped point. Within the fuller on each side is the remains of gold (maybe damascened) decoration which appears to have consisted of inscription and scrollwork, although this is now very hard to make out. Condition on acquisition: Excavated, patinated, very fragile.

Featured in

Hundred Years War

Dimensions

Dimensions: Overall length: 944 mm, Length of blade: 770 mm, Width of blade at hilt: 34 mm, Width of cross: 156 mm Weight: 840 g

Inscriptions and Marks

On the tang, stamped on the outside [CHECK], approximately 20 mm from the cross: a small, five pointed star set within a circle, with what appears to be a smaller circle at it's centre. The whole mark is approx. 6 mm in diameter.

Associations

Notes

This is one of a group of at least eighty swords said to come from the same find spot. For general information about these swords and others in the Royal Armouries Collection and elsewhere, see entry for IX.3683 under 'Notes'.
IX.2226 (from the same group) has a virtually identical hilt, but with a straight blade. IX.2226 also has a decorated blade, apparently of the same method, although the decoration takes a different form. These two swords (along with a possible third, published by E.Oakeshott, 'A River Find of Fifteenth century swords' in K. Stuber and E. Wetter, 'Blankwaffen', Zurich 1982, pp.17-32, fig 15) form a distinct sub-group within the 'Castillon' swords.


See inventory file for X-ray analysis sheet (Scientific Officer's ref: AM 1615).


The remains of the wooden grip were examined by Dr Allan Hall, a consultant archaeobotanist, on 27 October 2000. His findings were as follows: flakes of wood from base of handle were soaked in dil. HCl (there was some effervescence), but no useful anatomical characters were observed other than to confirm the nature of the timber as a hardwood; wood present on the object appeared to have a coarse grain (as for IX.2226) and may therefore be oak or ash'. See also scientific analysis sheet on inventory file.
Two other swords from the Castillon find were examined by Dr Hall (IX.1787 & IX.2226) and results were similarly inconclusive, but it was thought that they too were likely to be oak or ash.