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A 17th-century Hounslow ‘mortuary’ sword in Gunnersbury Park Museum

Phil Philo

A sword mill was established in Hounslow, Middlesex, in about 1630, and appears to have ground and polished blades of various types until its closure during the Civil Wars (1642-9). It reopened for a brief spell later in the century but closed finally in 1670.

This paper describes a sword blade which bears the inscription of the Hounslow mill, ‘HOVN ME FACIT’, ‘Houn(slow) makes me’. It is mounted in a ‘mortuary’ hilt – a name given by 19th-century collectors to a type of hilt often decorated with busts which were believed, erroneously, to be portraits of King Charles I and his queen, Henrietta Maria.

[Transactions 35 (1984), pp 81 – 5; abstract by Francis Grew, 06-Nov-1997]

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