EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Mark, this is an absolutely magnificent example of a mid 18th century British dragoon basket hilt! Welcome to the forum, and thank you so much not only for the grand entrance with this beauty! but for reviving this fascinating old thread.
The late Anthony Darling wrote his venerable article on these, "The British Basket Hilted Cavalry Sword" in 1974 ("Canadian Journal of Arms Collecting" Vol 7, #3) and on p.86 (fig 7 group) is one which is remarkably similar to yours. This is regarded as an Anglo-Irish hilt type with a horizontal bar bisecting the arms of the basket, and these are believed to have been English made. The absence of the looping bars at the base of the basket seem another indicator of this classification.
Dr. Cyril Mazansky , "British Basket Hilted Cavalry Swords" (2005) classifies the pommel type as 'tall bun' (type IID) and on p75, the group of hilts in F1 seem to follow closely the basic design. These are again English dragoon hilts.
Darling (op.cit.) notes that while many of these dragon hilts were made in London and Birmingham, some were also produced in Glasgow and Stirling, which were garrison towns. The ring around the base of the pommel seems to suggest mid 18th around 1750s, and most examples of this period have this feature. It is noted that the British dragoon hilts were quite sturdier than the Scottish hilts, and of course plain without piercings and other motif.
I am not sure on the '45' which seems scratched into the scabbard throat. It does not seem to correspond to regimental numerals often seen (i.e. 42 was the Black Watch, 42nd Foot). Darling indicates this particular type hilt as seen on yours is in his opinion one the finest forms of these dragoon hilts, and these were apparently associated with the 6th Inniskillings (Heavy dragoons).
May we know more on the blade, length, any markings please . How is the 1731 date attributed?
All best regards,