online Militaria dealer - Antique-Militaria [UK]
magnify icon Search militaria Medals - Arms - Militaria
Home icon Antique Militaria Home Cart icon Cart Checkout icon Checkout about us icon About us for the SEs and the curious Site map Telephone icon Contact us People shaking hands icon Customer comments | Help
Title Executioner's axe head
Nationality British
Period 15th/16th century

This rare survivor measures just over 22 inches long and the blade, which is 9 inches across, is engraved with a Gothic cross and the initials J O. It would have been mounted on a short haft, perhaps only 3 feet long, probably made of ash.

This rare survivor was found in York, one of the two places in England where people were executed with the axe, the other being London. This was because the Archbishop of York had the jurisdiction under the king. The first appearance of this type of execution in England was about 1460 during the Wars of the Roses. The axe was rarely used on the Continent, the sword being generally preferred and, indeed, only one of Henry VIII's wives was executed with the axe.

This piece is not to be confused with a peat axe, which, though contemporary and of roughly the same shape, was approximately half the size.

If you want to comment on this item—re quality, age, etc—please email me.

[Edged Weapons : Polearms : British : 16th Century]


As always, I'm very happy with the purchase and it makes a nice addition to my small collection.

C S, UK, 04.05.2018

Yes, arrived safe and sound, very nice, and very interesting. Have a couple of friends in the States slavering over the pictures, one of them loves searching old lists, etc. If I can tie it down more definitely will let you know.

N R, UK, 19.10.2005