A Stunning, Historical, Norman, King Stephen of England period Single-Handed Knight's Sword 12th century AD, Used In the Early Crusades Era
What a fabulous original ‘statement piece’ for any collection or decor. In the world of collecting there is so little remaining in the world from this highly significant era in European and British history. And to be able to own and display such an iconic original representation from this time is nothing short of a remarkable privilege. A wonderful example piece, from the ancient knightly age. Effectively, from this time of almost a thousand years ago, from a collectors point of view, nothing else significant survives at all, only the odd small coin or very rarely seen, and almost impossible to own, carved statuary.
A wondrous hand-forged iron knight's sword with slender blade and shallow fuller to each face, shallow point, gently curved rectangular-section cross guard, broad flat-section tang; the original pommel has been replaced by a plain domed type, perhaps Oakeshott's designated Type B.1 pommel. 12th-early 13th century, used in the early Crusades Period by Knights, such as the Knights of Jerusalem the Knights Templar, Knights of St John, made from time of King Stephen, and used into the times of King Henry the IInd, and King Richard the Ist. Made around the time of the reign of the Norman king, King Stephen,
Stephen of Blois, King of England who reigned from 22 December 1135 till 1154..
He was Count of Boulogne, from 1125 until 1147, and Duke of Normandy from 1135 until 1144. His reign was marked by the Anarchy, a civil war with his cousin and rival, the Empress Matilda, whose son, Henry II, succeeded Stephen as the first of the Angevin kings of England. The first of the Plantagenets,
Henry the II 1154-1189. Henry of Anjou was a most strong king, and a brilliant soldier, and he thus extended his French lands until he ruled most of France. He laid the foundation of the English Jury System and raised new taxes (scutage) from the landholders to pay for a militia force. Henry is mostly remembered for his quarrel with Thomas Becket, and Becket’s subsequent murder in Canterbury Cathedral on 29th December 1170. His sons turned against him, even his favourite John. A very small portion of his reign was depicted in the film ‘The Lion in Winter’ starring Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn. It was a remarkable depiction of the latter part of his reign which showed with great aplomb the relationship between him, his wife the Queen of Anjou and his sons Geoffrey, John and Richard,[played by Anthony Hopkins] his eventual successor, King Richard Ist [The Lionheart] 1189 – 1199
Richard was the third son of Henry II. By the age of 16, he was leading his own army putting down rebellions in France. Although crowned King of England, Richard spent all but 6 months of his reign abroad, preferring to use the taxes from his kingdom to fund his various armies and military ventures. He was the leading Christian commander during the Third Crusade. On his way back from Palestine, Richard was captured and held for ransom. The amount paid for his safe return almost bankrupt the country. Richard died from an arrow-wound, far from the kingdom that he so rarely visited. He had no children. . Incredibly swords of this time, providing they stayed within the ancestral family of the knights for whom it was originally made in the 1100s, could still have been used up to and including the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. Sword design had not changed a great deal in that time and if an English knight had had a famous ancestor from several generations before using the sword, it is easily conceivable that he would continue to use it in combat into the 15 century. The Battle of Agincourt was a major English victory in the Hundred Years' War. The battle took place on 25 October 1415 (Saint Crispin's Day) in the County of Saint-Pol, Artois, some 40 km south of Calais. Along with the battles of Crécy (1346) and Poitiers (1356), it was one of the most important English triumphs in the conflict. England's victory at Agincourt against a numerically superior French army crippled France, and started a new period in the war during which the English began enjoying great military successes.
After several decades of relative peace, the English had renewed their war effort in 1415 amid the failure of negotiations with the French. In the ensuing campaign, many soldiers perished due to disease and the English numbers dwindled, but as they tried to withdraw to English-held Calais they found their path blocked by a considerably larger French army. Despite the disadvantage, the following battle ended in an overwhelming tactical victory for the English.
King Henry V of England led his troops into battle and participated in hand-to-hand fighting. The French king of the time, Charles VI, did not command the French army himself, as he suffered from severe psychotic illnesses with moderate mental incapacitation. Instead, the French were commanded by Constable Charles d'Albret and various prominent French noblemen of the Armagnac party.
This battle is notable for the use of the English longbow in very large numbers, with the English and Welsh archers forming up to 80 percent of Henry's army. The decimation of the French cavalry at their hands is regarded as an indicator of the decline of cavalry and the beginning of the dominance of ranged weapons on the battlefield.
Agincourt is one of England's most celebrated victories. The battle is the centrepiece of the play Henry V by Shakespeare. Juliet Barker in her book Agincourt: The King, the Campaign, the Battle ( published in 2005) argues the English and Welsh were outnumbered "at least four to one and possibly as much as six to one". She suggests figures of about 6,000 for the English and 36,000 for the French, based on the Gesta Henrici's figures of 5,000 archers and 900 men-at-arms for the English, and Jean de Wavrin's statement "that the French were six times more numerous than the English". The 2009 Encyclopædia Britannica uses the figures of about 6,000 for the English and 20,000 to 30,000 for the French.
We will include for the new owner a complimentary wooden display stand, but this amazing ancient artefact of antiquity would also look spectacular mounted within a bespoke case frame, or, on a fine cabinet maker constructed display panel.
Formerly the property of a private family; previously acquired from a collection formed before 1990; thence by descent.
Cf. Oakeshott, E., Records of the Medieval Sword, Woodbridge, 1991, item Xa.8, for type. 85cm (33 1/2" long). Exceptionally fair condition, very good indeed for age..