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Old 4th January 2017, 10:06 PM   #1
Norman McCormick
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Default Older Toledo? Blade, Makers Marks I.D.

Hi All,
Can you please help in identifying the origins of this blade. I will post more and hopefully better pictures tomorrow. Thanks in advance for your help.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 5th January 2017, 02:47 AM   #2
Jim McDougall
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Hi Norman,
Having the whole sword would of course be helpful, but this blade pretty much speaks for itself. It is of course not Spanish but German, and most likely Solingen. The style of the crowns are found on German markings often purported to be Spanish. The configuration of three of the same mark was often used by the Wundes family in Solingen with kings heads.

The 'TOLEDO' is stylized to duplicate Spanish blades as well, and the interesting E and O with line through imitates the Spanish inscribing of Toledo with magic and cabalistic sigil context . The brass filled running wolf suggests very early German blade (these would not be found on true Spanish blades).

I was sure I had seen the crowned IB somewhere but cannot find it yet.
The blade is probably 17th century but more will be known if we can find more on the markings. The Brach family of smiths in Solingen were around from late 16th well into the 17th and names like Jan, Jacop, Johann give potential. The 'I' serves as a 'J' in old writing.

Al the best
Jim
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Old 6th January 2017, 08:55 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Hi Norman,
Having the whole sword would of course be helpful, but this blade pretty much speaks for itself. It is of course not Spanish but German, and most likely Solingen. The style of the crowns are found on German markings often purported to be Spanish. The configuration of three of the same mark was often used by the Wundes family in Solingen with kings heads.

The 'TOLEDO' is stylized to duplicate Spanish blades as well, and the interesting E and O with line through imitates the Spanish inscribing of Toledo with magic and cabalistic sigil context . The brass filled running wolf suggests very early German blade (these would not be found on true Spanish blades).

I was sure I had seen the crowned IB somewhere but cannot find it yet.
The blade is probably 17th century but more will be known if we can find more on the markings. The Brach family of smiths in Solingen were around from late 16th well into the 17th and names like Jan, Jacop, Johann give potential. The 'I' serves as a 'J' in old writing.

Al the best
Jim


PLEASE SEE https://translate.google.com/transl...htm&prev=search which rolls out a long list of details on the Solingen Swordmakers ;Brock with many names with a J at the beginning as you point out the probable I. source...
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Old 6th January 2017, 08:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Hi Norman,
Having the whole sword would of course be helpful, but this blade pretty much speaks for itself. It is of course not Spanish but German, and most likely Solingen. The style of the crowns are found on German markings often purported to be Spanish. The configuration of three of the same mark was often used by the Wundes family in Solingen with kings heads.

The 'TOLEDO' is stylized to duplicate Spanish blades as well, and the interesting E and O with line through imitates the Spanish inscribing of Toledo with magic and cabalistic sigil context . The brass filled running wolf suggests very early German blade (these would not be found on true Spanish blades).

I was sure I had seen the crowned IB somewhere but cannot find it yet.
The blade is probably 17th century but more will be known if we can find more on the markings. The Brach family of smiths in Solingen were around from late 16th well into the 17th and names like Jan, Jacop, Johann give potential. The 'I' serves as a 'J' in old writing.

Al the best
Jim


PLEASE SEE https://translate.google.com/transl...htm&prev=search which rolls out a long list of details on the Solingen Swordmakers ;Broch with many names with a J at the beginning as you point out the probable I. source...
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Old 6th January 2017, 08:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Hi Norman,
Having the whole sword would of course be helpful, but this blade pretty much speaks for itself. It is of course not Spanish but German, and most likely Solingen. The style of the crowns are found on German markings often purported to be Spanish. The configuration of three of the same mark was often used by the Wundes family in Solingen with kings heads.

The 'TOLEDO' is stylized to duplicate Spanish blades as well, and the interesting E and O with line through imitates the Spanish inscribing of Toledo with magic and cabalistic sigil context . The brass filled running wolf suggests very early German blade (these would not be found on true Spanish blades).

I was sure I had seen the crowned IB somewhere but cannot find it yet.
The blade is probably 17th century but more will be known if we can find more on the markings. The Brach family of smiths in Solingen were around from late 16th well into the 17th and names like Jan, Jacop, Johann give potential. The 'I' serves as a 'J' in old writing.

Al the best
Jim


Salaams Jim, PLEASE SEE https://translate.google.com/transl...htm&prev=search which rolls out a long list of details on the Solingen Swordmakers ;Broch with many names with a J at the beginning as you point out the probable I. source...
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 6th January 2017, 02:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
... It is of course not Spanish but German, and most likely Solingen.... The 'TOLEDO' is stylized to duplicate Spanish blades as well, and the interesting E and O with line through imitates the Spanish inscribing of Toledo with magic and cabalistic sigil context...
Jim


Jim, I just posted another Toledo(?) blade on Ethnographic side, and saw this sword and your response. Could there be a connection? Mine has lines through E and D. Here's LINK TO MY POST
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Old 6th January 2017, 08:26 PM   #7
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Hi Jim et al,
Many thanks for your info re this blade. I have attached more photographs which I hope will give further insight into the origins of the blade. As you can see the blade has been married to a later hilt which I would think has some Fraternal associations. The grip is bone. There is a copper wire wrap which I suspect is a recent replacement (electrical wire), there is no trace of an older wire wrap although there are two fine copper wires at one point on the grip but maybe this is also modern electrical wire. I have been unable to find the Fraternal association connected to this sword. I think this blade and to a lesser degree the grip has been used and reused several times during their lives. I hope you can shed more light on this item.
Regards,
Norman.

P.S. One of the photos shows that the 'Toledo' mark was once inlaid with copper as is the 'Wolf' mark.
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Old 6th January 2017, 08:27 PM   #8
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More Photos.
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Old 7th January 2017, 03:41 AM   #9
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Norman thank you for these photos, what a great sword!!!
To see an old blade like this in what appears to be a privately commissioned Masonic sword is fascinating, as we can wonder under what circumstances this blade was obtained.
In many cases, Masonic swords were fitted with either heirloom or trophy blades, and as officers and members of lodges and groups within the fraternal orders were often military officers, we may presume many were indeed trophies.

While relying mostly on resources on American Masonic regalia, I think this may be a sword intended for a Masonic officer, possibly a commander in the York Rite. The cross pattee is usually associated with the Knights Templar if I understand correctly. The animal figures may be sheep, which align with some of the Christian symbolism in Masonic regalia (research some tie ago and have not found notes).
The trefoil quillon terminals and classic pommel align with variants of Royal Arch type swords, and the white grips usually for commanders.

Mostly speculative on my part, but just using material which might be useful and hope others might fill in or correct as required.
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Old 10th January 2017, 07:11 PM   #10
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Hi Jim,
Thanks as always for your thoughts. I did suspect that your interest may be peaked by the fraternal associations of this sword. I did of course look in to this association but I hit a brick wall as to the exact Order or Group that the symbolism referred to. I'm not sure what you mean by animal figures/sheep? Thanks again for your interest and input.
My Regards,
Norman.

P.S. Maybe someone will I.D. the I.B. under the crown as it seems distinctive enough to have been catalogued somewhere along the line.

P.P.S. It would appear the blade and hilt have been together for some time.
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Old 10th January 2017, 08:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
...P.S. Maybe someone will I.D. the I.B. under the crown as it seems distinctive enough to have been catalogued somewhere along the line...

Apparently not an easy task, Norman; i, for one, have revolved heavens and earth and had no results. Hopefully someone will succeed.
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Old 10th January 2017, 08:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi Jim,
Thanks as always for your thoughts. I did suspect that your interest may be peaked by the fraternal associations of this sword. I did of course look in to this association but I hit a brick wall as to the exact Order or Group that the symbolism referred to. I'm not sure what you mean by animal figures/sheep? Thanks again for your interest and input.
My Regards,
Norman.

P.S. Maybe someone will I.D. the I.B. under the crown as it seems distinctive enough to have been catalogued somewhere along the line.

P.P.S. It would appear the blade and hilt have been together for some time.



You're most welcome Norman, and as always, I thank you for sharing the great and interesting pieces you always find!
The 'animal' figures are at either side of the cross in the quillon terminal decoration, but look 'tailed' so maybe a lion (?) Masonic symbolism is wrought with so many devices and allegoric decoration its hard to really decode.
I agree this seems to have been together some time, and certainly in the 19th c using a very old blade.
I have searched through all marking sources I could find and nothing on the IB. Its manner and configuration are consistant with Solingen markings of these times and much like the kings heads of Wundes, which occur in varying number. The crown is of style used on German marks.
Pending further information, the Brach family still seems a plausible maker.
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Old 10th January 2017, 09:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Apparently not an easy task, Norman; i, for one, have revolved heavens and earth and had no results. Hopefully someone will succeed.



Hi Fernando,
Many thanks for your efforts on my behalf as always. I have tried Geschichte der Solinger Klingenindustrie amongst other resources but have come up with nil as well. As you say maybe the cartouche will ring a bell with someone sometime. Once again thanks for taking the time and effort to search for an answer.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 10th January 2017, 09:35 PM   #14
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Hi Jim,
I have another couple of 'different' swords to post so I hope you have your deerstalker to hand.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 10th January 2017, 11:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi Jim,
I have another couple of 'different' swords to post so I hope you have your deerstalker to hand.
My Regards,
Norman.


...and the Drambuie!!!.....the games afoot !!
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Old 12th January 2017, 04:19 AM   #16
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I think I might have it!!!
According to the Wallace Collection (Mann, 1962 p.302 A595) a rapier by Jasper Bongen the elder, Solingen around 1620 with blade more in accord with usual form with narrowed ricasso. The mark is a crowned B.

According to Kinman ("European Makers of Edged Weapons, Their Marks", 2015, p.14) this maker is recorded 1600-50, and his mark was a cartouche with IB and a crown, but in horizontal posture. There seem to have been variations of the mark, and his son 1640-75 used variations of a crowned ox.

I would say this is an arming rapier blade by Jasper Bongen the elder in Solingen first half 17th c . with the triple marks following the Wundes kings heads manner.
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Old 12th January 2017, 12:43 PM   #17
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Jim, if you allow me, you are a master researcher and your conclusions must be taken into decisive account but, as you well mention, you might (only might) have it.
The marks that are shown in Wallace A595 ... and eventually A596, are precisely the same as shown by Gyngell ... as if they had the same printing origin and, as you well know, have no slight resemblance with the one seen in Norman's blade. As i ignore Kinmans's work (from which i would like to have a copy) i am compelled to accept the allusion to the horizontal crowned IB. I take it that such is only a written description, that not an actual design of the mark. A pity we can not see such cartouche; the IB font in Norman's blade is 'so strict', when compared to the (sort of) Italic B applied in the marks currently disposed. Not to speak that the blade in Wallace A595 is so distinct from the one discussed here, as they were forged by different hands but, that is another deal.
Pay not much attention to my inconsistent approach, as i obviously stand to b corrected. .

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Old 12th January 2017, 05:58 PM   #18
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Thank you Fernando, and actually I very much agree, my deductions were admittedly tenuous. Worse, I wrote after long hours of compiling research and did not elaborate on another important factor. The IB that was in horizontal next to the crown was actually a JB, however the J character was weakly representative and lacked prominent 'tail'.
That aside, I was relying on the early convention in written language of the times which typically used I for J. However while I know this applied in England, I am not sure how used in Europe.
In any case, another example of this makers mark uses a more distinct J.

Your observations are complete in noting the rapier in Wallace is a quite different blade, and as it was noted much earlier than the period I was suggesting as well as this being more of an arming blade, I thought that was in account to be a later blade.

It is well known of course that makers marks and the application of them was always in flux, even within given and recorded shops. As stamps wore down, the strike was often compromised as certain elements became degenerated. Given that these compendiums of markings are virtually always comprised of line drawings and sketches, the degree of variance becomes of even more concern.

A further instance is that even in specific shops, over time the marks recorded with guilds or otherwise accounted for, were subject to both alteration and change. It seems possible that such variations due to unknown reasons may have escaped the record keepers, but even more likely, such changes may have been intentional and covert.
Given the known practice of purloining of marks, it is possible that the maker may have deliberately altered or 'adjusted' their stamp, if their mark was compromised in such a way. The 'chop' of the tail on the J might have been such a case.
As noted, this example on Normans sword has a clear B, but might the I be less formative?
The alteration of configuration is also a notable consideration in addition to the triple application.

It is always good to examine these cases forensically, and a great exercise on deductive reasoning. The mysteries of markings have been my obsession for so many years, yet still so far from conclusions. Thank you for your well observed notes Fernando, and though a bit of a stumble...the game is still well afoot!!!
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Old 12th January 2017, 07:31 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
...That aside, I was relying on the early convention in written language of the times which typically used I for J. However while I know this applied in England, I am not sure how used in Europe...
If i well understand your question, yes, the I for a J was practiced all over, as enough to say it was a Latin trick.
Letter J was initially an alternative version to the letter I, and was the last one to be added to the Classic Latin Alphabet. The distinction between both letters became evident as from the middle ages. Pedro de la Ramée (1515–1572) was the first to explicitly distinguish both, representing different sounds... bla, bla, bla .
Many a thing kept being written with a I for a J, when Latin script was used, namely in coins, like this beautiful XVIII century Portuguese gold piece.


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Old 14th January 2017, 09:51 AM   #20
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Hi Norman,
as you requested, my very little light on the blade

magnificent sword suitable for someone with a high degree in Freemasonry

the blades of Toledo were praised for the high quality and superb craftsmanship and therefore very popular.
the blade smiths from solingen and Pasau who actually made equivalent quality blades, imitated the Spanish toldedo marks and referenced through engravings to Toledo.
the two characters under a crown ( Toledo marks don't have two characters side by side) is such a German mark and symbolizes Toledo, symbolizing and the characters do not refer always to the initials of the maker.

The B underneath a crown is used extensively in the 17th and 18th centuries. fe Peter Tesche used this crowned B (rapier Historical Museum Dresden # 314). Albert Weyersberg Solinger Schwertschmiede des 16 und 17JH, 1926. P.46

The shape of the running wolf on the blade in combination with the two short Fullers and the absence of a ricasso, tend me to date this blade to the late 16thC, origin Passau or Solingen, the hilt 19th or 20th century

best,
jasper

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Old 14th January 2017, 07:08 PM   #21
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Jim, Fernando, Ibrahiim and Jasper,
Many thanks guys for your interest and invaluable insight. I have a couple more, unusual to me, items which I think will be of interest and I look forward to your views on these. Thanks agains chaps
Kind Regards,
Norman.

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Old 31st January 2017, 02:02 AM   #22
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Hi Norman,
While I think we have pretty much resolved this is a very old German blade, the mounts and Masonic symbolism on this piece are fascinating, and even more so with the deep esoterica of these fraternal regalia swords.

I found some interesting information regarding the cross guard on this hilt, which may well be of composite elements, just as the refurbishing of this old blade to the hilt itself. The neo classic pommel of latter 18th may be from a regulation military dress sword, but does not go with the cross guard.

The trilobate quillon terminal shape is termed 'botonee' and a form used on 'Tyler' swords . One of these with these 'cross botonee' pommels and quillon terminals is shown in " Material Culture of the American Freemasons" (John D. Hamilton, 1994, p.155, 4.63) described as a Tylers sword, made by P.Knecht of Solingen, and "...hilted on the Continent for use in a symbolic degree lodge".

While the symbols are different on your sword's guard than those seen on the example in this reference, it does seem important that some of the hilts of this design were produced in Germany. The example in the book is dated c. 1820-35, and the blade notably narrower of course.

In an earlier reference to Tylers swords, Mr. Hamiliton refers to another example of the trilobate pommel and guard decorated with symbols of the symbolic degrees ("Swords of the Masonic Orders", Man at Arms, Vol. 1, #3, May, Jun 1979, p26, John D .Hamilton). The sword described was made by P.Knecht, Solingen sword mfg. 1811-1830 , also very narrow blade.

In Masonic lodges, it was a great honor to have the sword held by the Lodge's Tyler, to have it a venerated battle weapon, or in some cases, the blade of one, remounted in the appropriate regalia hilt. In this case the cross potent, and probably the crown having to do with the Royal Arch (not fully knowing proper symbol for this) likely signify a Templar Lodge.

I would say the hilt crossguard may be from one of the early Knecht hilts, and the blade either trophy or heirloom, put together in the 19th century probably early, and used as a Tyler's sword in a Templar lodge.

Purely speculative deduction, but worth considering.
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Old 13th September 2019, 07:23 PM   #23
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Hi Guys,
I found this image of an English School 19thC portrait of the Earl of Rosslyn. I don't know if the attribution is absolute but interestingly the sword in the portrait looks like a sibling of the sword I posted.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 13th September 2019, 07:42 PM   #24
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According to Wikipedia, the 2nd Earl of Rosslyn was 'Acting Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, on behalf of King George IV. '

I assume that's masonic regalia he's wearing in his portrait.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James...Earl_of_Rosslyn
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Old 14th September 2019, 12:05 AM   #25
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Excellent catch Norman!!!
It is always exciting to see portraiture with representation of a sword being studied, and to see these threads remaining active as new information is found.
Presently 'on the move' so resources not handy, but I wanted to make an entry anyway.
The Rosslyn name is highly represented in the complexities of the Masonic lore and this portrait of course clearly is profoundly of Masonic context.

While there was some great discussion here before on this, it will be great to see if we might be able to elaborate more now with this wonderful image.
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Old 14th September 2019, 11:47 PM   #26
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Still intrigued by this Norman, and the complexities of Freemasonry and the Masons, Knight Templars and all the fraternal and religious organizations and military orders are challenging at best.

While we are assuming this portrait is of the 2nd Earl of Rosslyn, possibly it ay be his son, the 3rd Earl of Rosslyn, Gen. James Alexander St.Clair-Erskine (1802-1866).

It seems that while Freemasonry is notably disconnected from the Knights Templars and other medieval military orders chronologically, in Scotland such orders were never actually abolished or disbanded. They did seem to remain secretly however.
Apparently from 1689 the Scottish Knights Templar became openly known.
In about 1825 they adopted the white mantle and the 'Red Cross of Constantine'.
In 1836 the Supreme Enclave of Knights Templar (Militi Templi Scotia) became removed from Freemasonry and accepted members outside that distinct membership.

Apparently the Rosslyn Chapel, which dates from medieval times, is owned by the Sinclair family as Earls of Rosslyn. In 1842 Queen Victoria expressed dismay at the decay of the structure, and in 1862 restoration was begun by architect David Bryce of Edinburgh, a Freemason.
This was on behalf of James Alexander St.Clair-Erskine, 3rd Earl of Rosslyn.

There has been a great deal of speculation, lore and often fanciful tales of connections between the Knights Templar and Freemasonry and the Rosslyn Chapel, however much of this is discounted by Robert L.D. Cooper, curator of the Grand Lodge Of Scotland museum.
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Old 16th September 2019, 06:12 PM   #27
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Hi Casaubon.
Thanks for your interest and input.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 16th September 2019, 06:22 PM   #28
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Hi Jim,
I have been in touch with the London Museum of Freemasony and I attach part of their reply.

The crown above the cross is an interesting feature, the English Templar orders almost universally have an Imperial Crown, the style on the sword is only used by Mount Calvary Preceptory. The French however use it much more frequently.


Thanks as usual for your valued input and I hope the above might throw a little more light on this piece. Scottish Freemasonary is of course quite distinct in many respects and I hope to pursue that aspect a little more.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 16th September 2019, 07:10 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi Jim,
I have been in touch with the London Museum of Freemasony and I attach part of their reply.

The crown above the cross is an interesting feature, the English Templar orders almost universally have an Imperial Crown, the style on the sword is only used by Mount Calvary Preceptory. The French however use it much more frequently.


Thanks as usual for your valued input and I hope the above might throw a little more light on this piece. Scottish Freemasonary is of course quite distinct in many respects and I hope to pursue that aspect a little more.
My Regards,
Norman.



Thank you very much Norman! I really appreciate this information and always enjoy the opportunity to learn more on the esoterica of Freemasonry, especially the Scottish rites. I think that in the historical scope of things, the fiber of Freemasonry is often overlooked somewhat.
What has always been interesting to me is that Masonic brotherhood has often transcended nationality and political persuasions, for example the distinct connections between French Lodges and Scottish, even at times the English.

For example in British officers swords, the notable c. 1780s officers straight sabre (spadroon) with five ball hilt features on the guard. These hilts soon became popular on French officers swords as well, and they termed the swords l'Anglaise which was of course profoundly atypical for the French. They do not seem to have 'copied' the sword hilts of anyone else, especially the British.
In research many years ago, I believed that the five ball feature may have represented that number keenly symbolic in Masonic tradition, and that the sharing of these features may have had joined Masonic convention between the two countries. Naturally, that always remained a matter of contention, and even Brian Robson ("Swords of the British Army" , 1975) disagreed with my suggestion.

The great book by Joe Marino, "The American Fraternal Sword" (2008) as well as the "Man at Arms" article by Hamilton (do not recall cite but think it was 1979) are excellent resources for Masonic sword detail.

We have had some discussions which had some great dialogue despite the usual contentions which inevitably arise in esoteric topics such as Freemasonry over the years.

It remains an intriguing and seldom addressed topic, which is why I always enjoy seeing examples such as yours Norman! Thank you again!
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Old 26th September 2019, 04:21 PM   #30
Norman McCormick
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Thanks Jim as always for your valued insights and interest.
My Regards,
Norman.
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