- Museum number
The remains of an iron sword in a copper-alloy scabbard. The blade is completely obscured by the scabbard, but would have been about 870 mm long and some 42 mm wide. Its high campanulate copper-alloy hilt end fits closely over the mouth of the scabbard, and above it is the very end of the tang, which has curved copper-alloy hilt mounts (27.5 and 28.5 mm wide), front and back, linked at the ends by copper-alloy rivets 17.5 mm long.
The scabbard is 907 mm long and 48 mm wide at the top. It has an excellent patina and is in very good condition, apart from a split near the centre of the back plate for almost its entire width. The back plate overlaps the front and there is hardly any taper, it is still 40 mm wide just above the chape end. The mouth is campanulate and high (22 mm). Its shape is followed by an applied copper-alloy swag attached to the front plate by a rivet in each end, and probably by another rivet in the centre at the top. It encloses a small roundel to which a knob of applied ornament has been attached by a central copper-alloy rivet. Two similar roundels (with damaged inlay), and the rivet for a third, are in a line centred about 62 mm below the mouth. On each edge of the scabbard at the top is a reinforce strip, 70 mm long and up to 8 mm wide, riveted to the back plate and wrapped round the edges of the front plate. Below the three roundels on the front, centred some 80 mm below the mouth of the scabbard, are the impressions of what may have been a bridge for an earlier reinforce, but no rivet holes survive. Three rivet holes near the bottom of the reinforce strips on the back may be contemporary.
On the back plate, the suspension loop is 25 mm wide, with bordering grooves along the edges. The upper loop plate has curved indents in the edges and is rounded on top, with openwork ornament and hatched shapes - a crescent, a circle and at least one triangle. It has been attached by a rivet near the loop, and possibly a small rivet at the centre of the hatched circle, whilst the long tapering lower loop plate has three surviving rivets and one rivet hole. The entire piece, the loop and both loop plates, is now 229 mm long, but two rivets below it suggest an earlier longer version with a broader terminal. Near the middle, the scabbard has been buckled on the front and split across the back, and there have been attempts to repair splits along the edges. Two shaped clips have been riveted to one edge, on the back, and clamped over the overlap, and there is the impression of a similar clip on the other edge.
The laddered chape, which appears to have been cast in one piece, is 290 mm long and the scabbard overlaps have been cut away to receive it. It is bridged front and back, with notched projections on the underside of each bridge with notched projections on the underside of each bridge and alternately above and below the three rungs on the back, and above the single rung on the front. Below the frontal bridge are two circular imitation clamps, each with a knob of (possibly) coral riveted to the centre. Two rivets in the back plate may have helped to retain the chape bridge, but there are also two others above the bridge, so it is possible that they secure a repair patch. The terminal of the chape end is thickened, its finials hooked and pointed, and it has small moulded finishes.
Length: 870 millimetres (?)
Length: 290 millimetres (chape)
Length: 907 millimetres (scabbard)
Length: 229 millimetres (suspension loop)
Width: 42 millimetres (?)
Width: 25 millimetres (suspension loop)
Width: 48 millimetres (top of scabbard)
- Curator's comments
- Stead 2006
Dredged from the River Thames ('recently', in 1854) and acquired by Lord Londesborough. C.R. Smith 1854b: 67-72 and pl. xvi; Franks 1858b: 145: no. 6; 1863:191, pl. xv:2; Piggott 1950: 26 (Group II); Spratling 1972: no. 271; Jope 2000: 126 and 279, pl. 210:h-j.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2002 31 Oct-present, Museum of London, 'London before London' LT Loan
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number