(About): A Sword for Duelling – And For War
The Late-Medieval era of plate armor, pike phalanxes and primitive black-powder weaponry gave rise to one of the most fearsome and iconic weapons of the entire medieval period – indeed, of all of history: the two-handed longsword. Whilst it had been around for several centuries in various forms, the design of the war-sword was refined into its ultimate form in the 15th– and 16th-centuries CE, becoming widely used amongst the aristocracy and the burgeoning class of wealthy burghers, becoming a symbol of social refinement, martial prowess and courtly display. Our Longford Sword is an elegant hybrid design, drawing together all of the finest elements witnessed amongst Late Middle Ages two-handed swords, presenting them to you in a weapon forged with meticulous attention to detail.
A Blade Designed for Ultimate Control
Our Longford Sword is hand-forged by the expert smiths at Darksword Armory – the legendary Canadian maker’s period-faithful weaponry has been wowing the re-enactment and LARP communities since 1996. For this sword, they have chosen 5160 spring steel, a stainless chromium steel with near-miraculous resilience. Even at the dawn of the Early-Modern period, when steel production was rapidly expanding in scale with the application of scientific methods and new technological innovations such as the blast furnace, medieval sword-makers would never have had access to spring steel weaponry. Darksword have tested this material to breaking-point by bending their swords up to 90º (!) – and they still return to their original shape. The blade is hardened using Darksword’s unique dual-temper heat treatment, achieving 60 HRC at the edge, with 48-50 HRC at the core for flex. This means that it is a rugged and functional sword, capable of going toe-to-toe with any other blade of similar hardness in light combat and LARP simulation.
The design of the sword is a late-medieval Oakeshott Type XIIIa. Although it appeared as early as the 1100s CE, the Type XIIIa was a popular and versatile sword throughout the medieval period, its design adapting and changing within its type to fit the needs of the challenges that its wielders faced. In the early period, the Type XIIIa was a Crusading beast: a longer, two-handed version of the Type XIII, sharing its long, straight-edged blade, spatulate (rounded) tip and shallow fuller. These weapons were tip-heavy, brutal weapons, capable of splitting mail and breaking bones with a single enormous blow. By the later-medieval period, especially with the advent of plate armor, the longsword had become longer and more tapered so as to provide greater thrusting power – some forms of the Type XIIIa, like our Longford Sword, followed this trend. The blade of our Longford Sword has a short ricasso, a feature from late-Medieval and Renaissance swords. This was an innovation the use of which is illustrated in contemporary Swiss and German sword-fighting manuscripts and manuals, showing the placement of a finger above the cross-guard for greater control, or even a whole-handed grip at the base of the blade to permit the use of the longsword in the manner of a short spear. You will notice the ricasso is engraved with Darksword’s dragon sejant makers’ mark – this is its passport of authenticity, and is how you know that it is a weapon built to last.
A Hilt to Mark You Out as the Finest Swordsman
The hilt of our Longford Sword is an authentic replica of a late-medieval greatsword hilt, combining a number of contemporary styles into a striking and original design. The cross-guard and pommel are made from tough mild steel. The guard is of an instantly-recognisable 15th-century design, elegantly curved toward the blade, finished with knobbed terminations to allow fine control of an opponent’s blade during fencing engagements. The grip is a comfortable two-hands’ width, wrapped in brown leather to give an excellent surface for firm contact in bare hands, gloves or gauntlets. The pommel is a mace-shaped ferrule, of Oakeshott Type T which he called a ‘scent-stopper’. Our Longford Sword is constructed with a full tang which is peened to the pommel – this means that the guard, grip and pommel are all threaded onto the blade’s tang, and then its protruding tip is flattened with a hammer to secure it all firmly in place. The result is a blade which is fully battle-ready and functional, safe for use in light combat.
Our Longford Sword is a rare opportunity for sword-collectors, HEMA enthusiasts and LARP roleplayers to own a sword which faithfully reflects the late-medieval longsword at the apogee of its elegance. It’d make a fantastic inclusion to a historical re-enactment, complimenting a harness of Italian plate armor, or it would do sterling service as the weapon of a fantasy sword tutor or burgher. Such a handsome and versatile weapon almost cries out to have an outfit constructed around it!
(Curiosity): Longford Castle
The Longford Sword is named for the Elizabethan manor at Longford Castle in Salisbury, England – the spectacular Elizabethan ‘prodigy house’ was built in the 1570s CE by Sir Thomas Gorges, one of Elizabeth I’s Grooms of the Royal Chamber. The house was modelled upon a Swedish castle design as a stunning display of opulence and status, and doubtless late-medieval longswords like our Longford Sword would have been used to demonstrate fine swordsmanship in tournaments – and perhaps even the occasional duel!
- Total length: 50 inches
- Blade length: 39 inches
- Blade thickness: 1.34 mm
- Blade material: 5160 carbon steel
- Blade hardness: 60 HRC at edge ; 48-50 HRC at core
- Guard and pommel material: Mild steel
- Grip material: Leather
- Weight: Weight: 3lbs 2 oz.