Royal Armouries

Bardiche traditionally associated with Col Gardiner's death at the battle of Preston Pans.

Images

monochrome newspaper illustration of an armoured figure on horseback

Figure of King Henry VI in the Horse Armoury, The Penny Magazine, 1840

  • monochrome newspaper illustration of an armoured figure on horseback

    Figure of King Henry VI in the Horse Armoury, The Penny Magazine, 1840

Date: 1795 | Object number: VII.866

Statistics

Object Provenance: Probably Russian, 16th or 17th century
Object Number: VII.866
Overall length: 167.1 cm (65.8 in)
Length of head: 76.2 cm (30 in)

Bardiche traditionally associated with Col Gardiner's death at the battle of Preston Pans.

Description

Head consists of a long, convex blade with reinforced point extended at the other end to form a strap secured to the modern wooden haft by a single screw. The haft fits into a triangular socket made in one with the back of the blade near its centre. A series of circular piercings follows the line of the back of the blade and back of the socket, where there are four holes. There is a small iron stud on the inside of the haft below the socket. An iron shoe is secured to the haft by one screw.

Probably the weapon illustrated in John Hamilton’s engraving of the ‘Various weapons and Implements of War which have been employed against the ENGLISH by different Enemies Now deposited in the TOWER of London’, and described as “The Lochaber axe with which Col Gardiner was killed”.

Alan Borg included it in his article ‘Gisarmes and Great Axes’, Journal of the Arms and Armour Society, 6, 1976.

The late 18th century guidebooks record it displayed in the Small Armoury in the Grand Storehouse among the ‘Highlander’s arms taken in 1715’, although if it was indeed the fatal weapon from the Battle of Prestonpans, it was associated with the second Jacobite rebellion of 1745. By Hewitt’s 1845 Guide it had become associated with a figure of the reign of Henry VI ‘In the right hand is a pole-axe of German manufacture (Formerly exhibited as the Lochaber Axe with which Colonel Gardiner was killed at the Battle of Preston Pans)’.

In the 1998 redisplay of the White Tower, VII.866 was shown in the Chapel Crypt.

Statistics

Object Provenance: Probably Russian, 16th or 17th century
Object Number: VII.866
Overall length: 167.1 cm (65.8 in)
Length of head: 76.2 cm (30 in)

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Henry VI in the Line of Kings Click on the title link above to find out more.

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