Oakeshott Type XVa Medieval Sword Circa 1340-1390 Jul 7, 2013 8:33:34 GMT
Post by Jack Loomes on Jul 7, 2013 8:33:34 GMT
Provenance: Collection of the late R.T. Gwynn, Epsom.
A circular disc pommel with chamfered faces and a pyramidal tang button sits atop the stout tang, which widens subtly towards the blade before passing through a neat rectangular slot in the crossguard. The latter has a flattened hexagonal section, with arms that droop slightly towards the blade and which taper towards their tips. The broad, double-edged blade is of a greatly flattened diamond section and tapers sharply and evenly towards a strong, reinforced point, and a faint, simple mark is incised on one side. In excavated condition, with a dark brown patina overall. This outstanding example of a 14th century knightly sword was said to have been found in Normandy, near Nantes, and its surface and edges show remarkably little corrosion despite being in excavated condition. With its acutely pointed blade and reinforced tip, our sword was clearly intended to deliver a lethal thrust, although in this case the straight edges would still have been very sharp. This would have made the sword an extremely versatile ‘cut and thrust’ weapon, which we can classify as an archetypical example of Oakeshott’s Type XV according to the typology of medieval swords that he devised in 1964. Developments in plate armour from the late 13th century led to the introduction of these stiff thrusting blades that were capable of puncturing through links of mail or into the weaker areas of early plate armour. There is a very faint mark on one face of the blade, approximately 3” from the hilt, which takes the form of a lightly incised letter ‘I’. Similar marks (some with inlaid metals) have been noted upon several of the swords from the Castillon find, most of which may be dated to the first half of the 15th century, and our example may represent an early version of such marks. Further examples of marks of the same general ‘family’ may be seen upon a similar sword in the Wallace Collection (No. A.462, dated 1350-1400 and also found in France), and on another of similar type found in the River Thames and now in the Museum of London (No. 52.12, dated early-mid 14th century). An example of a sword of very similar proportions to ours, although with an octagonal pommel, may be seen upon the brass of an unknown knight in Broughton Church, Lincolnshire, and is dated circa 1380.
SIZE: Length 98 cm / 38.6 inches
For more information on Type XVa see this relevant extract from Ewart Oakeshott's Records of the Medieval Sword: www.sword-site.com/thread/167/oakeshott-type-records-medieval-sword