Dublin Leather Scabbards 2: DLS 46 2

DLS 46. High Street E71:3825

Late twelfth-thirteenth century

L: 145mm    W: 35mm    T: 2mm       sheep/goat

Sheath: complete. Edge seam in running stitch, transverse slits at 6mm intervals. No suspension hole (Cameron 2007, 80).

There are seven examples of this method of stitching a sheath seam using a length of leather thong in the Dublin assemblage as well as a single example from the Christchurch site in Cork City (O’Rourke 1997). In each case the sheath is made by folding a piece of leather around a knife. The seam is closed by threading a length of thong through a row of small transverse slits along the edge.

The absence of any holes for a suspension loop on DLS 46 is a little puzzling. However, the Cork example shows what is described as a small piece of leather placed through the thong.  This reminded me of how leather toggles were made. Using the same technique of threading a strip of leather back on itself through a narrow slit, I created a loop in the lacing thong, before beginning to thread it through the transverse slits to close the sheath. The result is a secure seam with a suspension loop firmly in place without the need for any holes in the sheath.









Cameron, E. 2007 Scabbards and Sheaths from Viking and Medieval Dublin. Medieval Dublin Excavations 1962-81, Ser. B, vol.8. National Museum of Ireland.

O’Rourke, D. 1997 in Cleary, R.M. et al Skiddy’s Castle and Christ Church, Cork; Excavations 1974 -1977 by D.C. Twohig. Cork Corporation, Cork.

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2 thoughts on “Dublin Leather Scabbards 2: DLS 46

  • Declan Kenny

    Necessity is the mother if invention indeed. Would you say these are easier to make overall than a stitched version? Could they be seen as a ‘primer’ for the apprentice leather-worker, do you think? Or do you reckon they were an acceptable ‘grown-up’ item on their own merits?