Custom Wakefield Sword

Today we are going to look at a commission recently finished for a customer that turned out quite nice. This sword is based on the Royal Armouries IX.144, a piece which is a quite famous piece in their collection from the 15th century. They list it as a falchion in form though it's similar to a couple of other english swords of that period and a bit different than your average Italian falchion.

The original is pretty corroded and has some elements of the edge missing but has been in the collection from before the 1916 Inventory. Swords of this form got the name "Wakefield" from a piece of similar style found near the battle field of that name. This proximity does not mean the sword was used that day but it is thought to be of the same period. 

RA Wakefield Sword
Original piece in the Royal Armouries

The sword is often described as being a footman's sword as similar swords are sometimes seen in art of the period (see below). The depictions from Froissart's Chronicles in particular have probably influenced this view point. I would say the swords form and feel would prove serviceable in any trained swords persons hand whether common soldier or elite knight it has a wonderful feel when in the hand.

Battle of Crecy archer detail from FoissartSome of Froissart's archers

The construction of the sword was done by hand and hammer with the originals form close by so we could zero in on the shape and size to the best of our talents. When making such a replica we focus on being exact as possible but strive to allow the hand and eye to influence and inform the piece as it comes together. This we fell, gives the individual replica a bit of its own soul rather than being a 3D print. The original would have been created that way and we think it adds something when there is the hand and eye of the maker in the process.

Wakefield Sword under construction
Sword in process

Specs on the sword we did 32" overall length. The blade was about 26 and 7/8 inches long. Weight just under 2 lbs. The sword really came together as we reduced the weight on all the components. When we build to feel this is often the same process where we get everything close then reduce anything hat does not belong. It can be a tedious process but one that rewards as the sword begins to come alive in your hand and you are able to see how important the original maker was to finding the weapon in the shape and form of the piece.

Single edged swords have been quite popular of late and if you are interested in them we suggest checking out some of the info James Elmslie has put together working on a typology of single edged swords. We first saw James's excellent work here and he has continued to hone down the details as pictured below.

The Elmslie Typology

Do a google search for more of his info.

So now to our sword and a quick video spotlight on this wonderful single edged sword and its scabbard.

See a sample of other custom items we have made over the years here

Finally a word from the customer we made this piece for 

"I have been curious about this sword for years. A number of people have made versions of it, but none were really close to the original.  Close re-creation was the purpose of this project with A&A.  I think they succeeded admirably.  It is light, but very solid and would work very well in conjunction with a buckler.  The scabbard is worth mentioning - very well made, and the throat grips the blade quite well so that it doesn't tumble out when tipped.


divider swords

Nathan Clough, Ph.D. is Vice President of Arms and Armor and a member of the governing board of The Oakeshott Institute. He is a historical martial artist and a former university professor of cultural geography.  He has given presentations on historical arms at events including Longpoint and Combatcon, and presented scholarly papers at, among others, The International Congress on Medieval Studies.

Craig Johnson is the Production Manager of Arms and Armor and Secretary of The Oakeshott Institute. He has taught and published on the history of arms, armor and western martial arts for over 30 years. He has lectured at several schools and Universities, WMAW, HEMAC, 4W, and ICMS at Kalamazoo. His experiences include iron smelting, jousting, theatrical combat instruction and choreography, historical research, European martial arts and crafting weapons and armor since 1985.

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