An unusual sword in the Royal Armouries


Not set Type Serial component part

Place of publication

Not given

Date of publication

Not given


Arms and Armour, Journal of the Royal Armouries Vol. 1 No. 1 (2004)


The Royal Armouries' collection contains an unusual sword (IX.455) of British manufacture. The blade is marked 'Coales', probably Robert Coales of Birmingham who was trading as a sword cutler by 1767 and died in 1804. In the latter part of his life he was mainly or solely engaged in a bank which he founded and from which he retired in 1800. Certain features of the Royal Armouries sword suggest a date in the period 1760-1780. A second blade by Coales, on a sword in the National Army Museum, is also discussed. The intended function of the Royal Armouries sword is uncertain: it seems too short for mounted use and too heavy for infantry use. Links with cutlasses and machetes are explored. An appendix demonstrates the use of X-radiography for examining marks on blade tangs