A load of old Ballocks | The Mary Rose
A load of old Ballocks
Historical | 27 May, 2019 | Museum Blogger
Some of the more "interesting" objects found on the Mary Rose...

A total of 65 of these 'ballock daggers' were found on the Mary Rose, suggesting that these unusually-shaped objects were a common tool among the crew, used both for working and fighting.

Ballock (Kidney) Dagger
"A Load Of Old Ballocks"

Although the blades are usually lost to corrosion, the shape of the space where the blade slotted into the handle reveals that all but one had a single-edged blade. The handles are mostly made of Boxwood, although other woods used include Ash, Maple and either Hawthorn or Rowan.

Some of the sheathed examples were found with several small "by-knives", stored in small pockets on the outside of the main sheath. This was not uncommon in those found on the Mary Rose.

These daggers take their name from the handles, which have a startling resemblance to the male reproductive organs. While to modern eyes this may seem bizarre, and possibly obscene (indeed, for many years they were labeled as "Kidney Daggers"), this wasn't seen as unusual in Tudor England though.