'Magic swords' found in River Witham go on display at Boston's Guildhall Museum
TWO "magic swords" from the 13th or 14th centuries recovered from the bottom of the River Witham have gone on display at Boston's Guildhall Museum.
The swords are marked with letters and symbols that, so far, no expert has been able to decipher.
Officials at the Guildhall say the best guess is that the weapons were dressed in such a fashion to endow them with special magical properties such as enabling their owners to vanquish any foe and endow their swords with the life force energy of their opponents.
It is probable that the "magical" inscriptions were not visible when the swords were made and that only corrosion and decay of the outer surfaces over the centuries has now allowed their secrets to be revealed.
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Mystery also surrounds their discovery close together at the bottom of the river near Bardney. One theory is that they may have been votive offerings to please the gods and so deliberately placed in the waters.
At that time the Witham was the "motorway" of the day between Boston and Lincoln so the swords' owners may have been from this area and would certainly have been familiar with it. The swords are iron double-edged with a groove running down the greater part of the blade.
One has straight hand guard of circular section and a wheel pommel. The inscription on this one reads: '+SNEXORENEXORENEXOR ENE XOREIS+'.
The other is similar but with a large flat disc-shaped pommel. When found this sword was broken and was crudely welded together by a blacksmith which has caused damage to an inscription which now reads '[ ]II - IHICIHICIH]'.
Also new on display are golden rings from the late 16th or 17th centuries.
One was found at Frampton and is in the form of a garter with buckle and strap, the end looped over, with an engraved foliate scroll on the exterior. It is inscribed inside: 'THOVGHE x SOROV x NOV x NOT x EVER x SO'.
The other is a gold signet finger ring found at Old Leake. It is medieval and has a personal seal on the bezel with the inscriptions 'ET DE MOY PENCEZ' and 'DE LOIALTE NOS HONE VIN' around the bezel.