[ NEWS ] Viking broadsword was on the losing side of four of history’s greatest battles… and now it could be yours for just £120,000
- By Darren Boyle
- The sword was first lost by Norwegian raiders at Stamford Bridge in 1066
- Three weeks later, it was captured by the Normans at the Battle of Hastings
- It was carried to Bannockburn in 1322 where its owner narrowly escaped
- Eight years later his luck ran out when he was speared in the anus in battle
Aaaaand more on that Viking broadsword…
An unlucky sword used by the losers of the Battles of Stamford Bridge, Hastings, Bannockburn and Boroughbridge over a period of 250 years is expected to reach £120,000 at auction.
It is believed that the 11th century broadsword was originally carried to Britain by Viking raiders when it was captured, only to be lost a few weeks later at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
In 1314, the sword was carried to Scotland at the Battle of Bannockburn, where the owner was forced to retreat having witnessed his nephew axed to death.
However, the cursed sword’s bad luck continued at the Battle of Boroughbridge in 1322, when the unfortunate owner was speared in the anus and killed.
Now, the weapon is going to be auctioned by Christie’s auction house in London.
The 27-inch 11th century Viking blade features an iron cross-guard. The sword has the coat of arms of Sir Humphrey de Bohun, whose nephew Henry was killed Bannockburn by Robert the Bruce.
According to Christie’s, the sword was captured three weeks before the Battle of Hastings after King Harold, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England defeated the Norwegian raider King Hardrada at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire.
The doomed sword was used at Hastings where King Harold was defeated by William the Conqueror.
Experts believe that the sword was picked up from the battlefield by Humphrey De Bohun, who was the victorious king’s god father.
The blade was remounted with the De Bohan coat of arms, where Sir Humphrey De Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford and Essex carried it north to Scotland.
He was killed eight years later at the Battle of Boroughbridge.
Christie’s spokeswoman Dernagh O’Leary said today: 'Whilst it cannot be proved, it is not at all inconceivable that the blade of the present sword was captured or taken as a trophy by de Bohun at Hastings and was later remounted to become a family sword.
'The present sword, whilst not being a war sword, would have served as a clear badge of identity with its gold and enamelled coat of arms on the pommel and eminently more practical as a side arm around camp when not mounted and armed for battle. It is therefore entirely possible that this sword was present at Bannockburn in June 1314 if not actually on the field of battle.
'Sir Humphrey went to meet with a particularly gruesome end at the battle of Boroughbridge in Yorkshire in March 1322.
'For the last 50 years, the sword has been in the hands of two private collectors, firstly with the Australian-based Corrigan Collection, and latterly with the present, anonymous, vendor.'
Sir Humphrey’s unfortunate demise was later celebrated by the children’s TV show Horrible Histories.
A Christie’s expert said: 'The whereabouts of the sword prior to Corrigan’s ownership is not known, but the mention of a family sword bearing the de Bohun arms in Sir Humphrey’s will and the use of a mid-11th century Viking blade makes for an interesting train of thought potentially linking significant events of British history from the Vikings, Hastings and Bannockburn through this object.
'A series of x-rays which accompany the sword support the age of the items and show no modern repairs.”
The sword blade is described as ‘an extremely rare late medieval broadsword, with earlier Viking blade, and bearing the arms of the De Bohun family’.
Celia Harvey, Christie’s Head of Sale, said: 'We are delighted to be offering this extremely rare sword during the year in which the Battle of Bannockburn celebrates its 700th birthday.
'We imagine that the sword will be of broad interest to collectors of historical artefacts or arms and armours as well as to museums and institutions.
'The sword will be on display for a month at our South Kensington saleroom which will allow it the publicity and exposure it deserves.'
Source: Copyright © 2014 Daily Mail