Generally carried by officers, swords conveyed social status and military rank. They continued to constitute an important part of British colonial armament into the early 18th century. This hilt or handle for a sword is characteristic of finer quality small swords or "hangers" of the late 1600s. The leather-wrapped wooden grip was originally finished with a wire binding. Floral decoration appears on the counterguard and pommel (knob). Recovered from a shipwreck, this hilt is missing its blade. It would have been triangular in profile for thrusting rather than slashing. The hilt was found in the wreck of the Elizabeth and Mary, one of thirty-two ships that sailed from Boston, Massachusetts, in 1690 under the command of Sir William Phips. Their goal, although unsuccessful, was to take Québec. The militia company on board, and thus the owner of the sword, was from Dorcester, Massachusetts.
Date: circa 1675