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Old 12th April 2015, 08:00 PM   #95
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Ibrahiim thank you for the input here, and the interesting notes on the explanations regarding the Irish/Scottish misnomer, which indeed often became somewhat misleading. Interestingly the events you mention with the Scottish mercenaries in Sweden and Norway reveal an interesting potential for the source of the basket hilts which became known as 'Highland'. It is further interesting that those sabres with basket hilts in Northern Europe became known as 'Sinclair' sabres in a further misomer having to do with one of the officers of Scottish forces in these campaigns.

In looking further into this sword of Cathey's, which is indeed an intriguing anomaly, I think the possibility suggested for the engraving having been done c.1790's is of course quite possible. I also feel that the sword was most certainly that of an officer in one of the Scottish regiments, as these men were given considerable latitude in matters of kit and weapons. In those times of course, supplying troops was the personal choice and responsibility of the colonels of their own regiments, and officers purchased their rank and commission, so given those circumstances it is quite understandable such carte blanche would be afforded them.

Perhaps the use of this earlier style hilt of English dragoons and in a Scottish regiment of cavalry would better explain the retention of the earlier sword and better placement of 1790s in its use.
While the engraving of this clearly pro-Scottish commemorative on the blade would seem bold, it must be remembered that Scot's are vehemently patriotic and proud, and such fervor, especially on the sword of an officer, would in no way be considered subversive. Things were quite different politically by then, and celebration of heroes of such early times was certainly allowable. While nationality was of course always an ever present notion, they co existed in these units as 'British'.

There was also some degree of national tension between Scots and Irish, but in battle, units such as Inniskilings and Royal Scots Greys rode together with great respect for each other in battle, in my own perception.

With regard to my apparent 'gaff' on the predominance of the broadsword as distinctly Scottish, in further looking and still not finding the source, I am thinking the comment (obviously too adamant) may have been geared toward 'typical' earlier Scottish basket hilts. As noted in German records, the Scots preferred heavy broadsword blades, perhaps more for their notably distinct style of swordsmanship , and that these clansmen were basically 'infantry' rather than cavalry. The single edged blade in my opinion became popular in the 18th century for dragoons (though these troops fought on foot mostly) and later cavalry for mounted combat.

The use of broadsword (DE) blades on cavalry swords was of course certainly occasional, but typically in the exceptions noted. Naturally blades used often lent to availability in many cases, so that might account for variations. Rehilting of hilts such as those found at Culloden might have been ersatz examples using either captured or otherwise obtained blades from perhaps English sources. Cross traffic in blades of course knows no borders ( I have a 'mortuary' with Andrea Ferara blade).

I think the comment on the broadsword (DE) blades would have been better worded as Scottish warriors pre Culloden 'preferred' those blades, and the term 'axiom' left out

Salaams Jim, Thanks for your reply...I would say that of all the sword styles affecting European Armoury that this form has the longest and most convoluted story of all. As you note the Sinclair and of course the Andre Ferrera detail included in this sword and in the peculiar moon blade marks etc make it a vital cornerstone for any study of European Arms...and it is hardly surprising that there will soon be a 7 volume work on the subject by the Baron of Earshall...For beginners, boffins and experts this will be a first rate background on which to hang their hat...
In my mentioning the Scottish Highlander Mercs of the Swedish Army ..that was in Stettin but the date is amended to 1630...I have the sketch but annoyingly I cant get it from one computer to the other but I have it on camera and will post soon..In respect of the earlier warriors I wonder when in fact the idea started for the basket hilt in Scotland... It isn't there in the Stettin sketch at all...

I note that the thread moves on to discus the S decoration and geometry to the hilt. I also see below the S shape a Fleur de Lyse further broadening the story. I note one or two other instances of the S shape particularly in the No 4 picture of the Border Reiver basket Hilts...kindly posted at #63 by Cathey. In fact staying with the Border Reiver story please see for a fascinating view of this situation that developed on both sides of the so called

Sketching in some detail on the Fleur de lis from wikepedia ~

Fleurs-de-lis feature prominently in the Crown Jewels of England and Scotland. In English heraldry, they are used in many different ways, and can be the cadency mark of the sixth son. Additionally, it features in a large amount of royal arms of the House of Plantagenet, from the 13th century onwards to the early Tudors (Elizabeth of York and the de la Pole family.)

The tressure flory-counterflory (flowered border) has been a prominent part of the design of the Scottish royal arms and Royal Standard since James I of Scotland.

The treasured fleur-de-luce he claims
To wreathe his shield, since royal James
—Sir Walter Scott
The Lay of the Last Minstrel

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