Henry VIII’s Sword recovered from the Mary Rose ship
- Old news, since March 2008
The Mary Rose ship built between 1509 and 1511, was a firm favourite of King Henry VIII. She sank accidentally in 1545 and her rediscovery has been celebrated amongst nautical archaeologists.
This sword, recovered by a diver working in the silt under the ship’s side is unique amongst artefacts recovered as every other metal edged weapon was almost completely destroyed by the sea environment.
The sword is a composite object: the handle is wood, popular or alder; the blade is made of iron with steel cutting edges and the basket hilt is made from quarter inch rods hammer welded together.
After 437 years in the sea the sword is still wonderfully balanced and the blade is sharp enough to cut. Initial chloride removal was completed following 18 months in a sodium sesquicarbonate solution. Following this the sword was placed in wet storage to reduce the chloride levels even further.
The next stage was to dehydrate the sword before finally treating the wooden hilt. After all these years of conservation it has been possible to display the sword in the Mary Rose museum. With all the hard work that has gone into restoring the sword, the Trust needed to ensure it would be preserved for a long time to come.
The sword is on display in it’s own sealed case and the humidity levels and temperature are strictly controlled using a Munters MG50 desiccant dehumidifier with a Munters HR1 humidistat.