Terry Pratchett, author of the best-selling comic-fantasy Discworld series, was knighted by the Queen and decided to forge his own sword to match his new status:
With help from his friend Jake Keen — an expert on ancient metal-making techniques — the author dug up 81 kg of ore and smelted it in the grounds of his house, using a makeshift kiln built from clay and hay and fuelled with damp sheep manure.
Pratchett, who has Alzheimer’s disease, also said he had thrown in “several pieces of meteorites — thunderbolt iron, you see — highly magical, you’ve got to chuck that stuff in whether you believe in it or not”.
After days of hammering the metal into bars, he took it to a blacksmith, whom he helped to shape it into a blade, which was finished with silverwork.
Pratchett has stored the sword, which he completed last year, in a secret location, apparently concerned about the authorities taking an interest in it.
He said: “It annoys me that knights aren’t allowed to carry their swords. That would be knife crime.”