Meet the Crew of the Mary Rose

Bladed Weapons

When it came to hand to hand combat, the soldiers were well armed.



Many of the men were armed with a type of dagger called a ballock knife. This was a personal weapon and came in a variety of styles. It was housed in a leather sheath, and sometimes came with two smaller knives called bi-knives.

We found 65 ballock knives on the Mary Rose, the most that have ever been found in one place in Britain.



The officers on the Mary Rose would have carried swords,  and in 1982 a nearly complete iron sword was dug up from beneath the sterncastle of the Mary Rose. It had fallen through one of the gunports on the main deck and was preserved beneath the ship.

The sword is 105cm long and is nearly complete. It is a basket-hilt sword, so called because of the shape of the hilt, formed of a network of iron bars.


Staff Weapons

The crew of the Mary Rose were equipped with bills and short pikes, called “boarding pikes”. These could be used to fight on ship, or by the soldiers when they fought on land.

Boarding Pike

To keep the enemy at more than arm’s length, they used very long spears called pikes.


They also used a vicious weapon called a bill, a spear with an axe blade on the side.