Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: adelaide south australia
Scottish or British?
Not all basket hilts are actually Scottish, but how can you tell if its a Scottish Basket Hilt or a British Basket Hilt. Even the Baron of Earlshall in Volume 1 of his new book is cautious about a definitive answer as such and whilst his book is titled "The Scottish Basket Hilted Sword" it contains just as many British Basket hilts. Just to add to our confusion it may be British in manufacture but used by a Scottish Regiment and of course the Scott's where not renowned for blade making so a British manufactured blade on a Scottish Basket is not unusual either.
Whilst their will always be anomalies, two principle indicators are worth considering. 1st the pommel shape, many British military swords have what "Mazansky" refers to as a bun pommel. Scottish swords, more often than not have a more conical shaped pommel often with incised decoration. The second indicator can be found on the underside of the guard. In most British basket hilts the tang fits neatly into the sword slot, whilst in Scottish examples there is often a longer recess that may even be wider than the actual blade, thus comfortably seating the blade as such.
I have probably explained this rather badly so I have attached some pictures that I hope will better convey what to look for. The Baron does say in his book that whilst some Scottish swords do not have this extended sword recess, he has never seen the feature on a British example. So whilst we still can't be sure a basket is Scottish, if it has the extended recess under the guard we can be reasonably confident that it isn't British.
Cheers Cathey and Rex