Thegn or Thane, is an Anglo-Saxon title (Anglo-Saxon: þeg(e)n, Danish: degn, Old High German: degan, Old Norse: thegn or "king's follower") meaning an attendant, servant, retainer or official, usually in a military sense similar to the later "knight."
The Anglo-Saxon Dictionary describes a thegn as "one engaged in a king's or a queen's service, whether in the household or in the country," and adds, "the word in this case seems gradually to acquire a technical meaning, and to become a term denoting a class, containing, however, several degrees." The nobility of Anglo-Saxon England was ranked according to the heriot (basically a "death tax") they paid in the following descending order: earl, king's thegn, median thegn. In Anglo-Saxon hierarchic society, a king's thegn attended in person upon the king, bringing with him his men and resources. A "median" thegn did not hold his land directly from the king but through an intermediary lord. The thegn was inferior to the aethel (a member of a king's family) but he was superior to the ceorl (a freeman of the lowest class). It is interesting to note that this status could be earned, not solely inherited. A document believed to be from the time of Alfred the Great states:
And if a ceorl throve, so that he had fully five hides* of his own land, church and kitchen, bellhouse and burh-gate-seat, and special duty in the king's hail, then was he thenceforth of thegn-right worthy.
(*A hide of land was sufficient to support one family for a year.)
A successful thegn might also hope to become an earl. The highest level thegn, a king's thegn, was a person of great importance with special privileges, as contemporary manuscripts illustrate by the Latin translation of the word thegn as comes (a title comparable to "count" in later times). No one save the king had the right of jurisdiction over a King's thegn.
After the Norman Conquest, the existing thegns appear to have been absorbed into the emerging class of Knight. The Domesday Book, compiled after the Norman Conquest, still listed the thegns who held lands directly from the king with their respective counties, but the title became devalued over time, partly because there were so many thegns. The title of thane was still used in Scotland as late as the 15th century to describe an hereditary nonmilitary tenant of the crown, and appears in this use in Shakespeare's famous play, Macbeth (the Thane of Cawdor.)
A Classic Anglo-Saxon Sword
Our Thegn is a tribute to those early military leaders and the sword represents one classic style of distinctively Anglo-Saxon sword hilts.
The curved upper and lower guards of this sword and the three lobed pommel with the prominent middle peak are typical features for Anglo-Saxon swords of this period. The type is also found in Scandinavia and Petersen dates these type L swords to the second half of the 9th C in his study of Norwegian Viking swords.
The two side lobes on the pommel may on some swords show clear signs of being stylized beast heads, while on others the simplification has progressed so that the lobes are just saddle shaped semicircles.
The upper and lower guards are usually thinner than those found on other contemporary swords. They tend to be deeper across instead, like a broad boat shape when seen from the blade.
Another typical feature is the short grip. On most originals this is around 3.31" (8.4 cm) or less. A short hilt combines with the curving guards to a surprisingly secure and comfortable grip.
The Thegn has slightly slimmer dimensions than the other swords in this line. The blade is still broad at the base and the fuller is wide and well defined. This makes for a sword with quick handling characteristics. The unique pommel, with its two saddle-shaped side lobes, are accented with a twisted strand of sterling silver wire on each side.
The blade is hand-ground from high-carbon steel to a fine satin finish, heat-treated by hand for maximum flexibility and to take a fine edge. These swords are sold sharp, unless otherwise requested by the customer.
A Limited Edition Hand Crafted Collectible Sword
This Anglo-Saxon sword is offered in a limited edition of only 500 collectible swords worldwide.