Object Title

Axe

Axe

Date

1600-1799

Object Number

VIII.41

Provenance

Not recorded in typed inventory. Tower arsenal?

Physical Description

Badly formed axe blade etched on one face with a shield bearing the arms of the Dixwell [or Dixley?, see Publications/Notes] and on the other a rampant horse. At the rear a pierced fluke. From the central socket two short langets extend down the wooden haft.

Dimensions

Dimensions: Length: 744 mm (28.3 in) Weight: 2 lb 1 oz

Associations

Places England

Bibliographic References

C ffoulkes, Inventory and Survey of the Armouries of the Tower of London, London, 1916, vol. II p.257 (illus), NB. according to ffoulkes, the arms on the blade are those of the Dixley, rather than Dixwell family.

Notes

A letter on the inventry file (dated 22 september 1995) from Claude Blair contains the following observations regarding the heraldry on this axe:


'We can, I think, reasonably assume that the axe is not later than the 17th century, while the arms (because of the hand of Ulster in pretence) must be those of a baronet. This being so, the arms - a chevron between three fleurs-de-lis - must either be Belasyse of Newburgh, Yorkshire, or Dixwell of Kent. A Belasyse whose first name I failed to note was created a Baronet in 1611, but the Baronetcy disappeared in 1627 when it was merged with the Barony of Faucenberg. Basil Dixwell (1585-1643) of Terlingham (Folkestone), Kent, was created a baronet on 18 Feb, 1627/8 and the title became extinct when he died in 1643. A relative of the same name, of Broomhouse, Kent, was, however, created a Baronet in 1660, and his title did not become extinct until 1750'.
Blair goes on to conclude that, as the axe is unlikely to date from before 1627, it probably belonged to one of the Dixwells. He also suggests that the arms with the rampant horse are probably those of Kent, suggesting that the axe had some ceremonial connection with Kent. Furthermore, 'The 'Complete Baronetage' [Cokayne, George Edward, 'Complete Baronetage', Gloucester, 1983] mentions that the first Basil Dixwell was Sheriff of Kent 1626-7 which....is, of course, slightly too early for it to have been the occasion for him to have combined his arms as a Baronet with those of Kent. His later namesake held a number of offices, including that of Constable of Dover Castle, so perhaps he is the more likely to have been the owner of the axe'