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Purchased 22 November 1985, as part of the purchase of the Littlecote House Armoury (Wiltshire). Sotheby's Littlecote House Sale cat., 22 November 1985, Lot 12 (not illus.).

Physical Description

Hilt of blackened steel consisting of cap pommel with prominent tang-button, the flat plate being beaked and recurved in the plane of the blade; knuckle-guard pegged into cap of pommel; and with rear quillon sharply inclined and curving round towards the knuckle-guard. A pair of shield-shaped shell-guards join the root of the knuckle-guard, that outside the hand sharply inclined towards the blade, that inside the hand sharply inclined towards the pommel. Spirally grooved wooden grip (modern replacement) bound with two-strand copper wire and with a wide ferrule towards the blade. The shell-guards have been pierced and decorated on their convex faces with chiselled heads, scroll-work and fern-leaf decoration. The pommel and knuckle-guard are decorated en suite.

Very slightly curved, single-edged blade which narrows by 2 mm (1/16 in) at a point 267 mm (10.5 in) from the tip, the change being marked by a short step in the spine. The blade has a svery short ricasso, a broad central fuller extending for 571 mm (22.5 in), and a narrow fuller, towards the spine, extending for 425 mm (16.75 in).



BladeLength702 mm
BladeWidth38 mm
SwordOverall length845 mm
SwordWeight880 g

Inscriptions and Marks

Maker's mark
A stylized running wolf.
On blade, on both faces, in the broad fuller, approx. 115 mm (4.5 in) from the hilt
An orb and cross.
On blade, on both faces, just beyond the end of the narrow fuller, stamped and inlaid with copper (part now lacking):
Presently illegible (cleaning might enable a reading)
On blade, in inner face, on very ricasso, stamped: a partially visible mark



Characteristic features of English-made hangers of the 1640s included a mushroom-cap pommel, a large tang button and baluster decoration to the knucklebow which was frequently echoed on the quillon terminal. The hilts frequently incorporated two shell-shaped guards; the outer one larger and curved towards the point, the inner one smaller and curved in the opposite direction towards the pommel. However, other hangers exhibited hilts with guards of equal size both of which curved towards the pommel. The general shape seems to have evolved from the falchion - with a single edged blade that widens towards the point. Various decorative schemes can be found on the shell-guards including incised leaves and foliage and those which incorporate bearded faces in the manner of a Mortuary hilt sword.

From the armoury at Littlecote House.