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Norman McCormick 22nd April 2013 06:18 PM

1796 Sergeants? Spadroon.
7 Attachment(s)
New addition no2. This I believe to be a 1796 Sergeants Spadroon. The net is pretty devoid of info on this model so any assistance would be appreciated. Overall length 35 3/4 inches, blade 29 inches, just short of 3/8 inches thick and 1 3/16 inches wide with a copper embossed grip and fixed guard. Many thanks for your help.

thinreadline 23rd April 2013 04:29 PM

This certainly fits the description in Robsons book , in the chapter on Sergeants swords ... though he unfortunately does not illustrate one ( this presumably is a measure of the rarity of this pattern ) . I am not sure that this ( the 1796 ) should properly be referred to as a spadroon but the earlier pattern the 1788is so called. The sergeants 1796 is essentially a plainer version of the Officers Patt 1796 ... and that seems to be what you have. A very desirable find !

Norman McCormick 25th April 2013 03:47 PM

Hi Thinreadline,
Many thanks for your input, an illustration is not easy to come by and I've only managed to find one on the net belonging to another collector and posted on a different forum. Thanks again for the info.
My Regards,

Norman McCormick 14th October 2020 07:01 PM

Just a wee update, I now have verification from the Royal Armouries that this is indeed as I thought a 1796 Pattern N.C.O.'s sword.

M ELEY 15th October 2020 10:24 AM

I like this model very much, Norman. That is a true fighting blade and not just a 'show of rank' dress blade. Nice and sturdy weapon!

Jim McDougall 15th October 2020 01:52 PM

This is indeed a fighting sword, and well exemplifies certain tendencies of this period in the gentry and the elegant small swords of the 18th century. There has been some contention, as often the case, with the actual use of the term 'spadroon' with some of the military officers swords of the 18th c.

Typically the term was used toward a straight blade 'saber' which had a hilt with a perpendicular guard shell from the crossguard, and the blade was a backsword for both cut and thrust. These were from c. 1780s into early 19th c.

The term itself comes from a type of fencing/sword play used by Italians and Germans, though of course technically referring to a lighter sword and the actual 'style' of fighting.
From Egerton Castle (1884, p.184),
"...duels were so common and so dangerous- the usual play what we would call 'spadroon', or cut and thrust fencing-that the most peaceable student was never sure of his life for a single day".

As described in Angelo's "Ecole des Armes" (1763).

On p.243, Castle notes further that the 'simpler guard' approximated the small sword and was called 'spadroon' in England alluding to the German cut and thrust rapier of the 18th century (by term) which had been called 'spadone' (It.) or spadroon (German) relating to the root 'espada' (=sword).

So these 1796 hilts (the dress hilts for officers of that pattern year as well) were essentially versions of the small swords of the 18th century, and the term 'spadroon' was an allusion to the very deadly fencing system in cut and thrust popular in Italy and Germany. This was of course well learned by status oriented gentry and officers in England, and the presence of German swords and blades had been well established in England even well before the Hanoverians.

As well noted, this is a fighting sword, which though simpler in styling than the elegant small swords of the 18th century, is called spadroon with reference to the deadly cut and thrust technique of sword play in dueling.

Norman McCormick 16th October 2020 02:47 PM

Hi Mark and Jim,
Thanks for your comments. This is a nice sword to handle and notwithstanding the scarcity of this pattern one of my favourites, a substantial blade and definitely made for use. I have handled a number of the officers versions and not one was equal to this one. This was a common complaint re the officer's version not well liked and too many blades not up to the job although some were indeed fine. I reckon financial considerations came first with many junior officers.
My Regards,

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