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Object Number



Old Tower collection; probably Tower arsenal.

Physical Description

General Type Description: Brass hilt comprising oval pommel on a stand and with a prominent tang-button, D-shaped knuckle-guard which spreads to form a heart-shaped stool around the blade, and very short rear quillon with drop-finial inclined towards the blade. Wire-bound grip. Curved or slightly curved, single-edged blade, with a narrow fuller almost at the back, extending for the greater part of its length.

Variations, losses, damage, etc: vestigial ricasso; very extreme blade tip rounded off; blade slightly loose on hilt.


Dimensions: Overall length: approx. 855 mm (33 11/16 or 33.7 in., Blade length: 708 mm (28.8 in.), Blade width, by hilt: 32 mm (1.25 or 1 1/4 in.) Weight: 760 g (1 lb 10 1/2 oz)

Inscriptions and Marks

On hilt, on knuckle-guard, on outside, stamped: 53.On blade, on inside, up against hilt, stamped: crown over an illegible number, mostly hidden by guard, probably 2 or 8 (from the visible curved top).On blade, on outside, near hilt, stamped: a crown (apparently no number below).On blade, on both sides, stamped: running fox or wolf mark (see Notes; illus. ffoulkes 1916; also Marks cards in curators' office).On blade, on back, near hilt, stamped: 56 (or possibly 58).On blade, on tang, probably stamped: I(?) visible on X-ray - see Notes).


Places Britain

Bibliographic References

C ffoulkes, Iventory and Survey of the Armouries of the Tower of London, London, 1916, vol. II, p. 296 (illus. of running fox mark) - 'Infantry sergeants' swords, 18th-19th Century'.


This is the ffoulkes 'pattern 1742', though ffoulkes doesn't actually title it as such. See C. ffoulkes and E.C. Hopkinson, 'Sword, Lance and Bayonet', 2nd edn., London, 1967, pp.71, 73 (fig.33), & Pl.III, No.30. An example of the pattern is also illustrated in A.R. Dufty and A. Borg, 'European Swords and Daggers in the Tower of London', London, 1974, Pl. 68a (=IX.374).
Maker's names found on the blades of many examples indicate dates in the late 18th or early 19th century. Hangers were withdrawn for corporals and privates of regular infantry battalion companies in 1768 and for grenadiers in 1784 A.D. Darling, 'The British infantry hangers', 'Canadian Journal of Arms Collecting', VIII, no. 4 (Nov. 1970), pp. 124-36, at p. 128, caption to fig. 4) It seems likely that these and the type 51 hangers (see under IX.534) were issued to the Militia (see Darling 1970, p. 28 (caption to fig. 4); and some appear to bear militia markings (e.g. IX.1793; IX.6766; IX.6767). None of the RA examples seem to have the full county name found (sometimes with 'M' for militia) on the type 51, but an example of a type 42 in a private collection (Dep. B.0032) is marked 'M=Durham'.(PJL)
The running fox or wolf mark used to be thought to indicate manufacture at Shotley Bridge (e.g. Dufty and Borg 1974: 28, under Pls 68 a & c). However examples of this mark (with a fox's bushy tail) also occur with the letters SH on the body (see Darling 1970, p. 134, fig. 14; another example in a private collection (Dep. B.0032)) and the mark is now thought to be for one of the Samuel Harveys of Birmingham (Darling 'ibid.'; for the Harveys see W.E. May and P.G.W. Annis, 'Swords for Sea Service', H.M.S.O., London, II, p. 317). The mark also occurs with the full name HARVEY on cutlasses (at least) (W.Gilkerson, 'Boarders Away with steel...', Andrew Mowbray, Lincoln RI, 1991, p. 28, drawing 27). The running fox or wolf mark also occurs with the initials ID which Darling suggests is for the Birmingham maker John Dawes (Darling 1970, p. 134, fig. 13 and caption) and Royal Armouries IX.6813 (a type 51 hanger) has a running fox or wolf containing the maker's name 'Woolley'. On balance it seems more likely that the mark without the initials is also of one of these makers or that of another Birmingham maker. (PJL)
The '55' on the hilt resembles the stamped Weedon numbers but does not correspond with descriptions in either the 1927 or 1928 Weedon lists. (PJL)
An X-ray of the grip area by Dr David Starley in August 2003 (Job Code: AM 1832) showed a mark on the tang, possibly I (obscured by wire grip binding - see copy of report on inv. file).