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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2007, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
Sword from Mary Rose on display
16th century sword
The sword was buried beneath the ship's hull
A rare basket-hilted sword pulled from the wreck of the Mary Rose has gone on display for the first time.

The sword is unusual because historians are able to date it precisely to the sinking of Henry VIII's favourite war ship on 19 July 1545.

It was recovered in September 1982 while the Mary Rose still lay on the bed of the Solent.

The weapon will now be on permanent display at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in Hampshire.

'English invention'

Every other metal-edged weapon on the ship had been almost completely destroyed during more than 400 years under water.

John Lippiett, chief executive of The Mary Rose Trust, said: "Even after 437 years in the sea, the sword is still wonderfully balanced and the edge of the blade near the hilt is sharp enough to cut."

Alex Hildred, curator of ordnance at the Mary Rose Trust, said only two other basket-hilted swords have been found that can be given an exact date.

Both of these examples are 100 years later than the Mary Rose sword.

She said: "The up-shot of that is we can now argue that the basket-hilted sword is an English invention because our sword pre-dates everything found in Scotland."




SEE ALSO
Mary Rose museum plans unveiled
28 Mar 06 |  Hampshire
Mary Rose weighs anchor at last
11 Oct 05 |  Hampshire
Mary Rose fragments to be raised
21 Sep 05 |  Hampshire
Mary Rose to get permanent home
10 Mar 05 |  Hampshire

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