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Purchased from the collection of the late Sir James Mann in 1981; formerly on loan to the Royal Armouries (AL.23 52).

Physical Description

With 'mortuary' hilt and German blade (quick description, dimension and weights by RCWS; this has yet to be reconciled with the desription in the Typed Inventory). The iron basket hilt has a dish-shaped stool with a wide wrist guard or rear quillon.It has a central knuckle-guard and two side-guards, each linked to the central knuckle-guard by three scroll-guards. The knuckle guards are screwed to the pommel. A block at the base of the grip from which two langets pass through the stool on either side of the blade. The hilt is profusely covered in ornate chiselled and pierced decoration including various heads set, both in profile and in full, within medallions. This particular example includes two portrait medallion heads in profile looking at each other (possibly King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria). It also includes an armoured rider on horse back and all this is set amidst foliage and what appear to be naked women. The whole hilt bears traces of original gilding.
The double-edged blade has two fullers running into one which runs almost the entire length of the blade. It also bears the mark of the running wolf (several times) and an inscription: [AN]NO (running wolf) 1553 (twice, on both sides, in the two short fullers at the base of the blade - the AN of 'Anno' presumably -hidden under the langet) and then, in the single central fuller, on the outside: T (running wolf) OMAS {i.e. TOMAS}, and, on the inside: [A](running wolf)IL[A]LA(?) - the A incomplete {i.e. AILALA}. The two characters before Ailala, formerly read as DE (which would make sense, cannot be DE because they occur also before Tomas, on the other face of the blade, where 'de' would make no sense.



Dimensions: Overall length: 921 mm (36 1/4 in), blade length: 762 mm (30 in) Weight: 890 gm (1 lb 15 oz)

Bibliographic References

A.R. Dufty and A. Borg, European Swords and Daggers in the Tower of London, London, 1974, Pl. 47c.

D. Blackmore, Arms & Armour of the English Civil Wars, London, 1990, p.28 (b. & w. illus. - figure 28)

probably German, mid 17th century'.

Dorling Kindersley, Weapon. A visual history of arms & armour, Dorling Kindersley Ltd, London, 2006, p. 107 (col. illus., 2nd from top).


An X-radiograph, and analysis by the Royal Armouries, 13/06/1988, showed evidence of traces of mercury and gold on surfaces, indicating mercurial gilding.
The sword was formewrly on loan to Buckland Abbey, Devon, from June 1988.
Although the name of Tomas [de] Ailala o the blade suggests Spain, the general style of the inscription and the running wolf points to German manufacture, probably Solingen. The inscription could not previously be read completely but was interprteted by reference to a similar inscription on the blade of a hanger in an American private collection (see inv. file). The two characters before Ailala, formerly (see Typed Inventory) read as DE (which would make sense), cannot be DE because they also occur before Tomas, on the other face of the blade, where 'de' would make no sense. (PJL, Feb. 2008).