- Museum number
Iron sword, double-edged, fullered, guard inlaid with silver and copper alloy, lobed pommel, the blade carries an inscription.
The blade is complete and has a fuller on each face. On the blade towards the hilt and within the fuller is an inlaid legend, while on the other face, also within the fuller, is an inlaid double scroll. The down-curved guard of the sword is inlaid with a series of lozenges, each lozenge is of copper surrounded by a bronze border and is hammered on to a cross-hatched, prepared field. The same pattern appears on the pommel-guard, while on the central element of the trilobate pommel a similar but rather elongated inlaid lozenge occurs. The two elements on either side of the plain central lobe of the pommel have two moulded shallow grooves, while deep grooves of rectangular section, between the pommel and the pommel guard and the three lobes of the pommel, were presumably inlaid with a twisted wire decoration - this is now missing. The tang of the sword is flat and plain and the grip does not survive; it decreases in width towards the pommel. The pommel is fastened to the guard by two rivets, hammered over beneath the guard.
- Production date
Height: 26.20 millimetres ((Max) of handle)
Length: 915 millimetres
Weight: 1214 grammes
Thickness: 7.50 millimetres (blade (max))
Width: 60 millimetres (blade at top)
Width: 118 millimetres (lower guard)
- Curator's comments
Catalogue entry for Die Wikinger, Speyer, Germany, Dec. 08-July 09 by Barry Ager
Material: Iron, silver and copper alloy
L. 91,5 cm (overall)
Findspot: River Witham opposite Monks Abbey, Lincoln, England
Dating: 10th century
London, British Museum 1848,10-21,1
Sword of Evison’s Wallingford Bridge type (a later development of Petersen’s Anglo-Saxon type L). It has a double-edged, fullered blade and a trilobate pommel with traces of inlaid lozenges of copper-edged copper alloy on a silver ground, all hammered into fine grooves in the surface. Empty furrows separating the lobes and dividing the pommel from the upper guard would originally have held silver wires. The curved guards are similarly inlaid with a series of lozenges on a silver ground.
The blade bears the inscription LEUTLRIT (with inverted final T) near the hilt on one side and a reversed S on the opposite side. The inscription represents a continental Germanic name, possibly to be read as Leuterit, Leutirit, or Leutfrit, and the letters consist of strips of pattern-welded iron hammered into broad grooves. The name suggests that the blade is of continental manufacture, while the hilt-fittings would have been added by an Anglo-Saxon craftsman. The name occurs on two other swords from Estonia and Russia and there is a possible Anglo-Saxon copy from the Thames at Battersea. A reversed S-scroll with the addition of tendrils is seen on a sword from Al’myet’yevo, Russia.
Wilson (1964) 142-3 Taf. 20: 32; Evison (1967) 165 Taf. 12b; Lang and Ager (1989) 103-4 fig. 7.11a; Peirce (2002) 76-79
Found in the river opposite Monk's Abbey, Lincoln.
See pp. 39, 64, 79, 90 and pl. XX.
Bibliography: Kendrick, T. D. (1934): 'Some types of ornamentation on Late Saxon and Viking Period Weapons in England', Eurasia Septentrionalis Antiqua, ix, 396 and fig. 2; Laking, G. F. (1920): A Record of European Armour and Arms through Seven Centuries, i, London, 14 and fig. 15b; Maryon, H. (1950): 'A Sword of the Viking Period from the River Witham', The Antiquaries Journal, xxx, 175-79; 'British Museum: A Guide to Anglo-Saxon . . . Antiquities . . .', London, 1923, 94; Bruce-Mitford, R. L. S. (1953): 'Some recent results of the application of laboratory techniques to antiquities of the Anglo-Saxon period in Britain', Congrès International des Sciences Préhistoriques et Protohistoriques. Actes de la IIIe Session, Zurich 1950, Zurich, 321-2.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2015-2017 20 Mar- 20 Mar, Falmouth, National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Viking Voyagers LT Loan
2008 14 Dec-2009 12 Jul, Germany, Speyer, Historisches Museum der Pfalz, The Vikings
1987 29 May-19 Oct, France, Rouen, Abbaye de Saint-Ouen, Guillaume le Conquerant et son temps
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number