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May 20, 2013

Medieval Mondays: The Curious Weapons of Henry VIII

Henry VIII ruled England from 1509 to 1547 and was famous for overfondness for eating and bumping off wives. It's often forgotten that he was a capable military leader who turned the British navy into something that would be respected the world over for the next 500 years.

As a man of military interests, he collected a large variety of weapons and armor. Many of them are now in the Royal Armouries, including these two strange weapons.

The first is a what's called a Holy Water Sprinkler, basically a heavy spiked club. This one has an extra feature, though. Included in the head are three short pistols. You can see the touch hole for one of them in this photo.
Another example is this metal buckler with a pistol. Firearms were just coming into their own at this time, developing from the medieval handgonne to superior matchlock and wheellock weapons. The shield is richly engraved and like the Holy Water Sprinkler doesn't appear to ever have been used. In fact, there's no record of these combination weapons ever being issued to troops. They do look cool, though, and are tempting to add to a story sometime!


  1. Replies
    1. Perhaps, but they never got into general use so I suppose the military minds of the time decided they weren't viable.

  2. Wow, Henry the 8th a military man. That is worth knowing.


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