This sword is typical of those that would have been wielded by European knights in the 13th century. Weighing 1.2 kg (2 lb 10 oz), and measuring 964 mm (38 in.) in length and 165 mm (6½ in.) across the hilt, it has a double-edged blade and, if struck with sufficient force, could have sliced a man’s head in two. This example was found in the river Witham, Lincolnshire, in July 1825, and was presented to the Royal Archaeological Institute by the registrar to the Bishop of Lincoln. On one side there is an indecipherable inscription (‘+NDXOXCHWDRCHWDRCHDXORUN’), perhaps a religious invocation, inlaid in gold wire; the blade has been broken in two towards the point, and mended in modern times. The same type of sword is brandished by the men-at-arms in the manuscript of the Grandes chroniques de France.
- Article by:
- Dan Jones
- Medieval origins
When Magna Carta was created, England had endured 16 years of John’s kingship – a rule based largely on extortion, legal chicanery, blackmail and violence. Here Dan Jones discusses King John's infamous reign.