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Purchased from A. Lumley (dealer), Brookside, Kirk Hammerton, York, with 7 other swords (IX.2215-IX.2221), March 1982.

Physical Description

Hilt probably Dutch, blade probably English. The hilt comprises a carved ivory grip with a prominent tang-button and a pair of short (CHK), horizontally recurved quillons which terminate in bulbous finials. Towards the tang-button, the grip is carved to represent the top half of a lion's body, holding a shield between its two front paws; towards the blade, the grip is spirally grooved with a pair of parallel channels. Towards the blade, the silver ferrule is decorated with a raised moulding encircling its base. The quillon base is decorated (both sides) with a single incised line towards the outer edge.

The slightly curved, single-edged blade is double-edged for the final 152 mm (6 in)


Dimensions: Overall length: 489 mm (19 1/4 in), blade length: 356 mm (14 in), Weight: 540 gm

Inscriptions and Marks

On the blade between 64 mm (2.5 in) and 89 mm (3.5 in) below the guard (both sides), stamped: a blazing star (see Notes).



The blade is almost identical to those found on officer's plug bayonets of the late 17th century (see for example X.719). The ivory grip does not fit snugly into its ferrule so it is possible that it was rebladed onto the blade of a plug bayonet.
C. Welch, 'History of the Cutlers' Company of London and of the minor cutlery crafts', 2 vols, London, 1916 and 1923, II, p. 21, lists the blazing star as the mark of John Hathaway, registered 26 September 1689 (also of Walter Hughes, registered 7 February 1638-9 and Peter Brylman, registered 15 January 1606-7).
Similar hilts, of silver (e.g. IX.849) or brass but not ivory, are found in several of the Dutch Town Guard portraits of the 17th century - see entry for IX.849 for references and further examples.
Other swords in the Royal Armouries with combined grips and pommels of ivory (as opposed to just the grips) are: IX.960 (quillons also of ivory); IX.978; IX.1077.
Swords with ivory hilts elsewhere include: several in the H.L. Visser Collection (listed in entry for IX.1077); Nottingham Castle Museum, No. 66.23 - a hunting hanger with an ivory carved grip and helmeted pommel; one in the Historisches Museum, Bern; one in the H.L. Peterson Collection (since dispersed? - PJL); P. Dale Collection, No. 1009 (or stock no? CHK); National Museum of Ireland, Dublin, No. L.693.1; Sotheby's sale, 28/29 November 1980, Lot 287; Warwick Castle, No. E 202; 'Masterpieces of Cutlery and the Art of Eating', Exhibition cat., Victoria and Albert Museum, 1978 p. 38, No. 143 (not illus.); Bayerisches National Museum, No. 2874 (or 9); Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, No. 179. Illustrations of some of the above together with further examples will be found on the inv. file for IX.1077.