Object Title

Sword and scabbard

Sword and scabbard


about 1810-1820?

Object Number



No information in typed inventory. Presumed Tower arsenal.

Physical Description

General Type Description: The brass hilt consists of a flattened basket guard pierced with a series of triangles round the base of the blade and with three crescents where the guard curves upwards to form a knuckle-guard. The end of the knuckle-guard nearer the pommel is pierced for a sword knot; there is a small down-turned quillon at the rear of the basket. The brass backpiece is made in one with the beaked pommel and the wooden grip is covered with dark brown leather which has raised ribs formed either by grooves carved in the wood or by string wound round it. There is a brass ferrule at the end nearer the blade.

Long, almost straight, single-edged blade with a broad, shallow fuller on each face, and terminating in a hatchet point. The buff-piece is lacking (only mentioned below if present).

Brass scabbard with suspension hook on the outside and a separate mouthpiece secured by two screws. The screws can be of ferrous metal (only mentioned below when not so) or brass, though some are clearly later replacements. The mouthpiece top is sometimes curved or slightly curved to mate with the curved face of the guard.

Variations, losses, damage etc: Knuckle-guard broken near pommel.
[other thingas stil to be checked include: damage or distortion of guard; plain or grooved wooden grip, presence/lack of leather covering, and string binding if plain wood; presence of buff-piece; presence/lack of mouthpiece on scabbard; if mouthpiece has curved, slightly curved or straight top; if one or both screws attaching mouthpiece is missing; if one or both screws are NOT of ferrous metal; if fit of sword to scabbard is especially good or especially bad (see Notes)] DELETE SECTION IN BRACKETS WHEN THESE AND OTHER VARIATIONS ETC. HAVE BEEN NOTED.


Dimensions: Sword: overall length, approx: 1021 mm (40.2 in), blade length, along back: 897 mm (35.3 in), Scabbard: length: 909 mm (35.8 in) Weight: Sword: 2 lb 12 oz, Scabbard: 2 lb 0 oz

Inscriptions and Marks

On blade, on back, near hilt (CHECK), stamped: I. GILL.


Places Britain

Bibliographic References

C ffoulkes, Inventory and Survey of the Armouries of the Tower of London, London, 1916, II, p. 293 (group entry for IX.256-314).

C Blair, European and American Arms, c.1100-1850, London, 1962, pp. 94-5, line illus. II(l) - general description and discussion of pattern (citing nos IX.256-314) with drawing of example of hilt and part of blade.


For this pattern generally and for other examples in the Royal Armouries, see entry for IX.256, under Notes. It is unlikely that many of the swords of this pattern in the Royal Armouries are now with their original scabbards: this has not normally been noted unless the fit is especially good or especially bad.
W.E. May and P.G.W. Annis, 'Swords for Sea Service', 2 vols (cont. pag.), London, 1970, p. 317 record two firms of Gill in Birmingham. One, from 1774, Thomas Gill and, from 1802-1826, Thomas, James and John (initially a file and saw maker who became a sword manufacturer about 1793) and the other, from 1817, John Gill, from 1818-1837, Elizabeth Gill and Trustees of Elizabeth Gill in 1837.
The scabbard, for which a length and weight is given in the Typed Inventory, was found to be missing during a check of those in store on 30/08/02 and had probably been so for some considerable time before that. It was then storred among the swords of this type 'without' scabbards, suggesting it already lacked the scabbard at the time of the move to Leeds when the swords were first arranged in the stores there, separately grouping those with and without scabbards (sword now moved adjacent to IX.257 for ease of finding) (PJL, 30/08/02).