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Dean Castle Arms and Armour

Pole Arms and Melee Weapons

Sempach type halberd


The halberd is a two-handed polearm weapon that came into prominent use between the 14th and 16th centuries. It begam as a two-eyed axe, and changed in design throughout the centuries with preference for longer spikes and the cleaving element becoming displaced. At its decline from c. 1600, a final form of the halberd known as the 'Sempach type' emerged, featuring a broad, flat but short spear, a prominent beak, and a heavy but smaller head with a slightly convex edge. It was known as a Sempach halberd  because of its resemblance to halberds used at the Battle of Sempach in 1386. However, it is somewhat a misnomer as this were not the design in use at that period of time.

Dean Castle
Digital Number:
East Ayrshire Council
Snook, G. A. (1998) 'The Halberd and Other Polearms of the Late Medieval Period', American Society of Arms Collectors Bulletin 79:3-13

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