Spies in the Tower: Carl Hans Lody

In the run up to our Spy Academy running throughout half term at Fort Nelson, Bridget Clifford recounts the stories of just some of the men held in the Tower of London on espionage charges during the First World War. NB: This post was originally published in November 2014 as part of our The Curator @ War series. Three months into the First World War as the combatants on the Western Front learnt the grim reality of trench warfare inRead more

Conservation in action: The German 25 cm trench mortar (Minenwerfer ) 1917

In 2004 a former member of the Royal Armouries staff collected this German 25 cm trench mortar from a Farm in Norfolk, where for a number of years it had been exposed to the elements and was in need of some tender loving care. On site at Royal Armouries Fort Nelson in Portsmouth, the trench mortar remained in the Artillery Hall, where it continued to suffer from the adverse conditions until Mick Cooper (Fort Nelson Technician)  began the lengthy conservation process lastRead more

Royal Armouries to publish oldest known fencing manual in Western World

Royal Armouries Manuscript I.33 is the oldest known fencing manual in the Western world. In this Olympic year it is being lent for exhibition to The Wallace Collection in London. The Royal Armouries have taken this opportunity to rebind the manuscript and while it is unbound to photograph it so that a unique full scale colour facsimile can be published. The Royal Armouries have teamed up with specialist publishers Extraordinary Editions who have designed a replica early 14th-century binding forRead more

Illuminating Reading

One of the oldest and most enigmatic treasures in the Royal Armouries archives is a manuscript –  which we refer to as Royal Armouries MSS 1.33 – dated to the latter 13th century. We don’t know who it was written by or for, or even why it was written; but it is the oldest known European fencing manual anywhere in existence. The manuscript is made up of 32 leaves of parchment. The text is in Latin, but the use of German words which haveRead more