(About) The Bastard of Normandy’s Knightly Blade
This sword brings together everything that was most effective – and most deadly – about the weapons wielded by the devastatingly effective Norman noble horsemen who forged a sprawling Kingdom out of England and northern France, ending Anglo-Saxon hegemony and subduing any resistance to William “the Conqueror”, King William I of England.
The William the Conqueror Sword is a single-hand arming sword, which would have been designed to be wielded from horseback. Its blade is forged using heat-treated high-carbon steel. The blade is of Oakeshott Type XI: slender and pointed with a subtle taper along its length, with a deep fuller. This design would have made it extremely effective at slashing: in this period, most of the Normans’ enemies wore either padded cloth or chainmail, and a sharp sword wielded hard with skill could burst mail and split helms. Our William the Conqueror Sword is a fully-functional, tempered steel sword with full-tang construction, capable of going up against other similar battle-ready blades in light combat with little damage.
The Norman’s northern cousins the Vikings referred to this sword as the gaddhjalt, ‘spike hilt’, referring to the long tapering tang hidden inside the hilt used by Norman smiths. This sword is of full-tang construction, meaning that is constructed like an historical medieval blade: with the crossguard, grip and pommel threaded onto the long ‘tail’ of the blade and riveted in place. The result is a weapon capable of taking – and giving – a beating. The crossguard is solid and functional mild-steel, much wider than the Viking Age blades from which it developed, now capable of controlling and entangling enemy swords. . The grip is wrapped in tan natural leather. The blade is finished by a ‘Brazil-nut’ pommel which balances the blade, a nod to the Frankish ‘Viking Age’ swords from which the Normans derived their own devastatingly effective designs.
It also comes with a wooden scabbard, wrapped in tan leather with a steel locket and chape that will keep your blade safe when stowed. Overall, the William the Conqueror Sword is the perfect choice for portraying an early-medieval knight – in either the context of a LARP or an historical re-enactment impression.
(Curiosities) Stormin’ Normans
The Normans were a people in what is now modern north-eastern France, who were the descendants of Viking settlers mixing with the Frankish and Gallo-Roman locals. Indeed, the word ‘Norman’ literally means ‘Northman’ or ‘Norseman’. The Dutchy of Normandy was established in 911 when the Viking chief Rollo signed a political settlement with King Charles II of West Francia, agreeing peace in return for land to live on. William of Normandy claimed direct lineage from Rollo – although his claim was less than clear, and he was referred to as ‘William the Bastard’! No wonder he was keen to be called ‘the Conqueror’.
- Total length: 40 inches
- Blade length: 33 inches
- Blade thickness: 4.4mm
- Blade material: Tempered carbon steel
- Guard and pommel material: Mild steel
Grip material: Leather