Information Needed on 11th/12th Century Chapes
Greetings all,

I am currently laying out plans for making a scabbard for my Albion Knight. As I am also taking a class in Jewelry making, I thought I would try my hand at making the chape (and locket?) myself. However, I'm not really sure where to find pictures of historical scabbard fittings, especially online. Therefore, I would be grateful for any hints on resources you knowledgeable folks can give. I would prefer electronic resources, but I also live near several good libraries so looking for books is not out of the question.

I see the Knight as more of a 13th century sword (the 1200s). But that's just me. :)

If you're looking at earlier periods, you're primarily going to be looking at period art. Even for later periods, you'll find far more in period art than surviving examples.

If you wanted the 13th century (specifically mid-13th century), the Maciejowski Bible might be a good place to start, though most of the chapes are simple U-shaped affairs. Also, starting in the 13th century, you have monumental brasses to go by, which show U-shaped chapes and other forms as well, depending on time period. Effigies predate brasses a little bit, but not by much. is a great resource for 13th century and later stuff.

Maybe the Bayeux Tapestry would help for the era you're looking for. I'm not aware of a ton of period art from that era, though I'm sure people will chime in if they know of some.

Lockets (the fitting at the mouth of the scabbard) don't seem to date from your era. They were more popular later. I can't recall any examples of the top of my head that predate the 14th century.
Some of the medieval reproduction companies offer cast bronzes that are based on actual artifacts and fragments of artifacts. The simple horseshoe style shell (not full covering of scabbard tip, but rather the perimeter of the leather profile is covered, sometimes face plates are trapped inside the perimeter form of the chape) seems to be a popular offering for mid to late Saxon/Norman period. The Mercier Sveiter UK company offers some good looking bronze cast chapes, although they are thick walled and heavy. (I had to grind mine down to on the inside just to get a smooth slip fit over the leather scabbard covering.) Look at some of the Mercier offerings under mid Anglo-Saxon sword fittings.

Attached is an image from a 13th century effigy. ( This type was around for a long time, and seems to fit the functional but graceful style of the Knight in my opinion.

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Attached image is from a child's sword in the Royal Armouries, possibly a little earlier than you have in mind (from memory it, personally would not reccomend making reproductions of reproductions, you will loose a lot of accuracy that way.


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