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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]


Thanks for the good and quick service! I tell other world war 2 collectors to buy at your shop!

A M, The Netherlands, 15.10.2011

Hello Chris, just to let you know that I received the parcel, very pleased with it.

C T, UK, 08.03.2006