EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Keith, my apologies I entirely missed your post (#36) and the illustration of the hilt with marks. Could I see the entire sword?
These 'regimental' marks on the hilt seem to have been more of a convention of the mid to latter 18th c. in England, though I am not saying such cases did not exist earlier. There was little standardization and such unit stamps were simply applied incidentally it seems.
The '2' with hyper link D and 'B' would certainly be plausible as 2nd battalion.
I am curious at how the Oley attribution to the blade is made.
By the marking crown over 9, this seems indeed an inspection mark, and these are described by Robson in his "The British Military Sword" (1975) but I do not have my copy at hand. It seems these kinds of marks were not used until the second half or latter 18th c. but again could be wrong on that.
If this is as I suspect, a mid 18th century infantry hanger (possibly the heart shape guard known as 1751 due to the Morier paintings) and dating to the Revolutionary War period, then it would be fascinating to see an Oley blade from Shotley confirmed. If Shotley was indeed producing military swords that late, I am curious why it is not included in any of the literature that are compendiums and listings of such makers over the past 60+ years.
It could be of course that old hanger blades from Shotley were remounted just as the case with numbers of blades with both Hounslow and Shotley markings, however evaluation of the sword as a whole is necessary.
Ibrahiim, thank you so much for the link to the wonderful article by Andrew Mowbray, which if not mistaken was in the first volume of "Man at Arms" magazine back in 1979. He was one of the most helpful and knowledgeable men in the arms community, and truly an inspiration to me.
I think he well surmised the Shotley situation, and there was indeed no doubt that blades were being brought in to 'salt' the works, and to appease investors anxious about the production. His description of the colichmarde matter is excellent, and well explains the purpose of the heavier forte section of the blade in dueling, which of course inherently exceeds fencing parameters in use of these unusual maneuvers. I had not thought of grabbing the blade in the manner described in the article. That the feature on a blade suddenly appeared is no more reliable a notion than its alleged limited use and sudden disappearance.
The curious blade profile with dramatic reduction in the blade to narrow foible to point is known in more ancient swords in blades known as 'carps tongue' if I recall correctly (Oakeshott, 1962, "Archaeology of Weapons").
The idea that some rather showy instances of blade production were probably emplaced in degree seems logical, but it would be unlikely to find accurate detail considering the covert and rather unconventional legal matters at hand.
Keith, it has been known that Benjamin Stone was very much the driving force in Hounslow, and though he was not a maker or craftsman, but an enterpreneuer/deal maker, he did have his own stamp or mark....a bunch of grapes. That he was getting blades from these many centers is not surprising as trade in blades was long a key industry, though he likely acquired these in lots through locations such as Holland, which like Liege, were international arms dealers.
Naturally the occurrence of various marks, names and inscriptions would be seen in almost a happenstance manner in these dynamic dealings, so to try to set rigid guidelines, axioms or classifications would be futile.
Keith, it is great to be discussing this intriguing topic with you and Ibrahiim as it seems at last I am learning more on what seemed quite baffling as I tried studying it decades ago. I hope you will keep us posted on progress on your book and looking forward to it!!