King Edward III Sword
(About): A Homage In Steel to the Father of the Black Prince
Our Edward III sword is a homage to the most important English King that you’ve never heard of. His reign saw the beginning of the Hundred Years’ War between England and France, and the conclusion of its successful opening campaigns; the development of the English Parliament, including the House of Commons; the weathering of the Black Death and its concomitant social upheavals. Such a monarch needs rescuing from historical obscurity – and thus we present our King Edward III Sword, a stunning Late Medieval knightly arming sword, bedecked in gorgeous golden fittings fit only for a conquering King.
A Slender Late Medieval Blade
The blade of our King Edward III Sword is an elegant replica of a Type XIX. These swords were well on the way to the Renaissance rapier: they had narrow, slender blades that had straight, parallel edges almost all the way to the point, where it tapers sharply. The cross-section of these blades was hexagonal, meaning that the blade was more stiff than the lenticular cross-section cutting blades of the High Middle Ages, but less rigid than the needle-like diamond-cross-section puncturing swords designed to pierce plate armor. The blade has handsome ricasso at the forte of the blade, and a slender fuller which extends along a third of the length of the blade. Initially, it was thought that these blades were only made well into the Renaissance era, but more recently, surviving examples have been found which date the inception of this form of blade well back into the 14th-century – even unto the reign of Edward III.
The earliest discovered Type XIX sword is an ‘Alexandria sword’ – weapons captured from surrendering Western knights by the armies of the Mediterranean Islamic states were sometimes engraved with Arabic devotional inscription and donated to the Mamluk armories at Alexandria. These weapons are a fantastic snapshot of Western martial history, not least because the devotional inscriptions often include the year it was donated, in the Islamic calendar. For our luck, there is an Italian Type XIX sword in the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada, which bears an Arabic inscription with the (Western) date 1368! This date is just after the date of the Alexandrian Crusade (October 1365), which was an invasion of Alexandria by a combined force led by the Peter I of Cyprus – but which was made up largely of knights and soldiers from the Republic of Venice. It seems possible that this was a sword taken from a captured Venetian, and then donated to the Alexandrian armories some time later. The presence of a sword might indicate a period of use spanning 50 years before, but to be conservative, we can be certain that this type of sword was in use by the middle of the 14th-century CE. Since King Edward III died in 1377, a decade after the sword was donated to the armory at Alexandria, it immediately indicates that such a sword is more than plausible at his court.
Our King Edward 3 Sword is made from high-carbon stainless steel that has been polished to a shining luster.
A Handsome Devotional Hilt for the Victor of the Hundred Years’ War
The hilt of our King Edward III Sword is a regal golden hilt fit for a King. It mirrors Type 9 in Oakeshott’s typology from Records of the Medieval Sword. It is an elegantly curved guard, pointing down toward the blade to frame the ricasso, finishing in knobbed terminals. The metal hilt has been finished in a mirror-plate brass finish, which catches the light beautifully. The hand-grip has a handsome hand-sewn leather wrap. The pommel finishes off this King’s sword magnificently: it is a beautiful engraved disk, featuring the Christian cross of Edward III’s faith. This sword is constructed with a threaded peen, so it is secure for roleplay, light re-enactment and display – but it is not designed for use even in light combat. Thus it is the perfect sword for LARP events and Renn Fayre costumes. It’d make an excellent king’s sword, or a shining magic sword pledged in service of a deity of light.
(History): Edward III: England’s Forgotten Great King
Ask anyone to name a great medieval English King – you’ll probably get a fair few ‘Richard the Lionhearts’, maybe the odd ‘Henry V’. You probably wouldn’t have anyone naming Edward III. Which is a great pity – he is one of England’s greatest forgotten kings, whose story is the equal of anything in Game of Thrones or Vikings.
His father was Edward II, a weak king whose popularity was already in rags by the time of Edward’s birth. Militarily hapless in the war with Scotland and inept at balancing the competing favors at court, Edward Senior attempted to shore up his position by making his son Earl of Chester when he was less than two weeks old. This marked the beginning of young Edward’s early life as a pawn of powerful interests competing for the throne of England. At age 14, Edward was installed upon the throne of England in place of his father in a coup d’état launched by his mother Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer. This should give us pause to consider the world that the boy-king Edward III was born into: one where feudal bonds of obligation were already crumbling into naked power-politics. Edward chafed under the direction of his new stepdad Mortimer, and, in a display of ruthlessness that would mark all of his courtly dealings, aged only 18 he ambushed Mortimer at his hold in Nottingham Castle, and had him swiftly executed.
Edward III was clearly a very different fish to his old man. He had success in Scotland where his father had failed, defeating large Scots armies at Dupplin Moor and Halidon Hill, forcing a much more favourable truce. The spark for war with Scotland in the time of his grandfather was the signing of an alliance between Scotland and France, and this alliance was still strong – the French retaliated against this new peace by confiscating the English crown’s holdings in France. Rather than seeking peace, Edward responded by laying claim to the throne of France itself! This began the century-long conflict between England and France known as, inventively, the Hundred Years’ War. Edward commanded the forces in English victories at Crécy, crushing an enormous army of French mounted knights with an outnumbered force of longbowmen and men-at-arms, and Poitiers, again routing a much larger force, capturing the French King John II in the process!
Whilst Edward’s latter years were marked with lethargy and inaction, he nevertheless undertook vital work which shaped the growth of England in its future course. Justices of the Peace were commissioned to investigate and try crimes for the first time in English history. English, rather than Norman French, was legislated to be used in the law courts, and Parliament was opened in English for the first time in 1364. The English Parliament, particularly the House of Commons, saw significant development (not least in order to raise taxation for Edward’s military adventurism!) discovering their own voice and staging a miniature constitutional revolt in 1376.
This is not to say that Edward III was a paragon of virtue – medieval kings were almost uniformly monstrous by our modern standards. He was a brutal military leader, but he thoroughly lived up to the ideals of medieval kingship, efficiently and effectively dealing with the dangers that faced the realm as they arose, and he left his mark upon the nation as it grew. We think that deserves a handsome commemorative sword – our King Edward III Sword, indeed!
- Total length: 42 inches
- Blade length: 34 inches
- Blade material: High carbon stainless steel
- Guard and pommel material: Brass finish
- Grip material: Leather