Weird warfare at Leeds Royal Armouries’ wacky weapons show event

Curator Bob Woosnam-Savage pictured with the Horsemans Axe.
Curator Bob Woosnam-Savage pictured with the Horsemans Axe.
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They might not be the most practical weapons to step out onto the battlefield with.

But any warrior sporting one of these weird and wonderful creations would most definitely be waging war in style.

The spectacular historical artefacts will all be part of an upcoming event at the Royal Armouries in Leeds, appropriately titled You Don’t See One of These Everyday.

Bob Woosnam-Savage, the Armouries’ Curator of European Edged Weapons, told the YEP: “Many of the items are real works of art and examples of craftsmanship. Others are associated with famous people, and some are things that probably just seemed like a good idea at the time.

“But people certainly won’t have seen anything like this up close before.”

Ahead of the seminar next month, Bob and fellow expert Peter Smithurst have picked out a selection of unusual prototypes and flamboyant artefacts from the museum’s collection.

They include an amazing 17th century combination pistol and axe engraved with lions and dragons.

As well as an axe blade, the bizarre ‘two-in-one’ piece of weaponry also features five barrels that could be used as a gun.

Bob explained: “Having a combination weapon is a useful thing because if your gun doesn’t work, you still have the axe to fall back on.”

The seminar also features a 14th century crystal sword pommel, fashioned to contain rare relics or mystical artefacts, and a fearsome executioner’s blade etched with a man impaled on a sharpened stake and carrying the inscription ‘Punishment already hangs over the head of the evil thinker’.

Visitors to the event will get the chance to handle some of the items and hear a lot more about their history.

Bob added: “We also have items like gun shields and assassin’s crossbows, all sorts of examples of one-off items, and it really is good fun.”

You Don’t See One of These Everyday will be held at the Armouries on Saturday, February 9 from 10.30am to 4.30pm.

Tickets are priced at £30 per person and can be booked at

Andy Thorburn of EMIS

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