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The River Witham Sword – 11th Century Arming Sword

SKU: KOA_AH7016R Categories: , , Tag: Brand:
(1 customer review)


Additional information

The River Witham sword is a particularly well-preserved 12th Century sword which is in the care of the British Museum; it was originally found near the River Witham near Lincoln, in England. The sword was a masterful work in its heyday, as evidenced by its dual-fullered blade design coupled with copious amounts of beautifully and meticulously inlaid inscription and symbols on both sides of the blade. The blade was most likely Germanic in origin and forged in central Europe and likely sold as a bare blade which was then matched with a hilt by an English cutler to suit local tastes.

It is not known for sure what the inscription means, but the similarity of its inscription with other swords of similar age go so far as to suggest that it had its origins from a premium swordmaker or swordmaking workshop which was producing fine quality blades for the nobility and elites who were willing to pay not only for a fine blade, but also for substantial amounts of inscription and inlay which were a popular feature on swords being created around the year 1200. One side of the River Witham sword has what may be good luck symbols, and the other side is likely abbreviated Latin in the form of a prayer, or an invocation to a Saint for protection.

This replica has a blade of high carbon steel which was tempered to 48-52 HRc in hardness. The blade is durably mounted and peened over the pommel for a solid overall construction. The crossguard and pommel are crafted from steel and the grip is wood which is bound in tight leather cord. The sword is matched with a wooden scabbard which is bound in stitched vegetable tanned leather of high quality. The scabbard is finished with steel fittings and hanging rings which allow for it to be worn both vertically and at an angle from a sword belt. (belt not included).

Overall Length36 1/4"
Blade Length29 3/4"
Weight2 lb 14.3 oz
Width51.8 mm
Thickness4.7 mm - 4.1 mm
Grip Length3 15/16"
ClassBattle Ready
Country of OriginIndia

1 review for The River Witham Sword – 11th Century Arming Sword

  1. jamesclayton333 (verified owner)

    The only disappointment about the sword, considering the price, is the tip of the sword is quite rounded off. Yet, I did not order it sharpened, and perhaps with some grinding the point of the sword – It could be more of a point. The scabbard is real leather and wood, but the metal of the scabbard is where they cut some corners. It appears strong enough to connect the loops to a belt and use to carry it around, however, if you so choose. The sword point looks less pointy than in the photos, but the scabbard looks exactly like the photos. (get what you pay for).

    What I like the most is that the runes and inscriptions are not cheaply applied. They are somehow carved or burned into the metal and will never wear off. I was quite pleased with that. There is clearly a full tang design and the handle and hilt are rock solid, as for testing it in battle, I am not going to do that, but just swinging it around with one hand, and a hand and a half, feels solid. The blade is also very thick, heavy, and has various imperfections that indicate it was hand-made in some manner.

    Creating a new scabbard and sharpening it would make this much better, but overall considering the price I am pleased with the purchase.

    As for what the runes mean, the best information I have found shows this is the most likely:

    “In the Name of the Lord; of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost
    Count of Holland Willem by the grace of God, King of Germany, and Hainault by the will of God
    Christ reigns! Christ conquers! Christ commands!”

    So based on the price I will give this 5 stars.

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