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Sword: HEN.M.211-1933

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 31 (Armoury)


Blade maker: Unknown
Hilt maker: Unknown




Long, facetted pear-shaped pommel with strong button and knobbed collars. Grip of wood bound with steel wire with turks' heads at top and bottom. Knuckle-guards of flat ribbon section widening at the midpoint where it is divided by an elongated oval motif between small zig-zag dividers. Below this division, a loop-guard of the same section and form rims across the outside of the hilt to join the root of the hilt quillon. Within this loop is a downturned oval shell-guard. Quillons of flat section very sharply turned towards the blade and finished in spirals. There is a thumb-ring at the back of the hilt, the lower end of which spreads out into a diamond-shaped plate decorated on its outer edges with scrolls. The whole of the outside of this hilt is decorated with longitudinal reeded ribs, with a zig-zag running down the middle of each guard. The eight facets of the pommel are similarly decorated. Blade of flat diamond section, the mid-ribs flattened and the faces hollowed. On the outside, the blade bears the engraved inscription: 'Vive Le Roy' in very large letters which span the whole width of the blade. On the reverse, the lillies of France within an oval, crowned cartouche, the crown containing also some fleur-de-lis.


History note: Unknown before testator, Mr James Stewart Henderson, 'Abbotsford', Downs Road, St Helen's Park, Hastings, Sussex

Legal notes

J.S. Henderson Bequest

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1933-03-16) by Henderson, James Stewart


17th Century, Mid#
Circa 1650 CE - 1670 CE


It was very common for swords to have blades from one country, maker or date and hilts of quite another as blades were made in a few centres around Europe and were bought and the hilt added. The blade of this sword is inscribed Vive le Roy (long live the King)

Many examples of this type of hilt exist, though it is not included as a type in the Vesey Norman Typology of hilts. There are many variants, but common to all is the downturned shell-guard springing from the ecusson within the outer loop-guard. A notable and elaborate example is No. A683 in the Wallace Collection in London (1962 Catalogue, pl. 127).

Components of the work

Grip composed of wire ( steel) wood (plant material)
Sword composed of steel
Pommel And Hilt

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: VIVE LE ROY
  • Location: On blade
  • Method of creation: Etched

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.211-1933
Primary reference Number: 18925
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 20 April 2021 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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