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An English Rapier dating to circa 1625 to 1650. This is a long bladed weapon most likely made for dueling rather than generalist or military use. The hilt is intricately chiselled with floral and circular features.
The prominent dish guard is forged in one piece from thinly beaten iron with an upturned rim. It is finely chiselled and bossed with eight overlapping grooved circles enhanced with floral sprays on the insides which are accentuated with rows of pierced dots. The rim has the appearance of eight crescents which are the tops of the circle designs. The centre of the dish is chiselled as a multi-petaled rosette pierced in the middle with the tang aperture.
The rectangular section quillon block is decorated in the same manner as the dish. Front and back quillons emanate from the block and bifurcate into two branches on each side, each branch turning outwards and backwards. Thus the quillon assembly forms a four part cradle which supports and strengthens the dish guard from the inside. The quillons are decorated with striated lines and terminate in broad flattened knops chiselled with leafy patterns similar to those on the dish guard.
From the front a slender knuckle bow emanates from between the bifurcated quillon arms and rises upwards in a “D” shape to terminate at an angle which is pierced and secured to the pommel by a screw. The bow is decorated with striations similar to those on the quillons and is markedly swollen half way along with a double knop same as those mounted on the quillon terminals. The solid globular pommel has an integral waisted neck beneath and raised button on top. It is decorated with chiselled overlapping circles and foliate designs same as those on the dish guard.
The grip is of baluster shaped rounded square cross section with a vertical groove on each side. It is spirally bound with alternating steel and brass twisted wire, two ropes of steel for each one of brass. Woven steel rope “Turks’ Heads” are mounted top and bottom of the grip.
The stiff blade is of tapering slightly flattened diamond section and just over 40 inches (just over 101 cm) long. It a short ricasso from which a deep fuller is cut extending for 9.5 inches (24 cm) along each side. The fuller on one side is stamped in capital letters with: SINAL ES EL CAVISCO DE BOOY and on the reverse: CLEMENTE BONIM EN ALAMANIA, the words on both sides interspaced with patterns of dots. The phrases seem to be in Latin and are not yet precisely translated, but such inscriptions tend to follow a standard pattern. The first phrase would state something like “I was made by”, whilst the second would say who did make the blade, in this case Clemente Bonim, who made the blade in Germany (en Alamania).
Clearly the blade is a German import into England. Blademaking in England was a small industry and not well established at this time. Most blades were imported from German blade making centres of which Solingen was the most important.
The rapier retains an even blackened dense russet patination all over. The hilt retains its pleasing original profile. The overall length of the rapier is just over 47 inches (119 cm).
English rapiers of this date exhibit a common form and style, however, there are many variations under this umbrella. Many are seemingly unique like our example discussed here. For different styles of English rapiers see Stuart C Mowbray, “British Military Swords”, 2013, Andrew Mowbray Publishers, Volume One, 1600 to 1660, pages 254 to 281.