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Old 29th September 2020, 05:39 AM   #1
Jim McDougall
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Default English Dragoon sword with Possible Jacobite Connection

This dragoon hilt of English plain panel/saltire form is of early 18th c. (Neumann suggests 1680-1720) mounted with a blade which seems to correspond to the German type blades of this period to 1740s and perhaps longer. It is straight but many hanger blades have the distinct single fuller following the blade back usually about 15-16".

In Neumann (1973, fig. 64S and 65S) are two French hangers with straight blades noted as 172-36, and 1720-50. The blades are 22 3/4" and 23 1/4"
with each of them having fleur de lis marked at blade center.
France in this time did not have capability for larges scale blade production so bought them from Solingen.

The domed pommel with the arms of the basket slotted into it is characteristic of early 18th, as is the squared shield panel, also the capstan.

The Jacobite army assembling in 1745 were in France, as well as in locations in Great Britain of course, and it is known that at least 2000 cheap broadswords were sent from France among other arms. The broadsword term was used rather indiscriminantly , but it seems quite possible that this blade.......of 30" and marked with fluer de lis, may have been one of these supplied and mounted in this type hilt (obviously with more hand protection).

The Jacobite army were not just Highland, but also English, French and Irish and their causes were varied, not just with that of the Stuart monarchy.

On the field of Culloden in 1746, there were only 190 swords recovered, and among these were examples with blades marked with fleur de lis, as well of course as with the running wolf and Harvey. These blades were dismantled from the hilts to produce a terrible fence ( "Swords from the Battlefield at Culloden" , Mowbray) so they may have been from either side.
However, the fact that the Jacobites were quite reliant on French support renders the fluer de lis connection compelling for a Jacobite sword despite the English hilt.

Obviously the fluer de lis was used in other contexts as well, but the presence of centrally stamped blades on French hangers with German blades is also strongly considered.
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Last edited by Jim McDougall : 29th September 2020 at 06:21 AM.
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Old 29th September 2020, 09:26 PM   #2
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This is an amazing basket, Jim! Either way you look at it, such a sword could have been used in the "45". You bring up a compelling argument concerning the possible usage of French blades melded with whatever basket a Jacobite could lay his hands on (the Highlanders were also not above scavenging previous battlefields for weapons. That practice, certainly not unique to any particular people or conflict, could also be a factor). I know the fleur-de-lis was also found on some early English swords, however, so perhaps it's just an earlier blade? I've seen several of the English dog head swords of the 1680-1700 period with the 'de lis', causing confusion until I learned that some British makers also used them. We know that there were Scottish basket hilts presented to some of the French nobility for their support of the Rebellion, so again, isn't it possible that this sword might have a French connection to the 'Troubles'? That we might never know without some further clues. This is still far and away a great piece, Cap'n! Where you been hidin' it!?
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Old 29th September 2020, 11:04 PM   #3
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Thank you Mark, as you say the fleur de lis is a symbol with wide use far beyond its familiar use in France. Very true some English blades had the FDL but unclear on the extent or associations. With these blades they seem to correspond to hanger type blades mostly of the 18th c. which were being supplied by Solingen to France, England and others.

For the most part weapons production in most countries in these times was focused primarily on muskets and black powder. Edged weapons were mostly munitions commodities and blades were acquired by cutlers who produced hilts and assembled them in varying volume.

It is hard to say where this blade and hilt came together, but the elements are late 17th to early 18th so certainly pre Culloden. These hilts were made in the 'garrison' towns and various suppliers locations for British dragoon units, and may well have been remounted in ersatz circumstances for the '45 rising.
There was distinct support for the Jacobites in France, Ireland and even England and these blades and hilts were well circulating as both troops and arms were being assembled.

I have always thought the paltry number of swords recovered from the field at Culloden (190) was highly suspect. The number of swords taken by forces leaving the field in the immediate aftermath cannot be surmised. Cumberlands forces guarded the field for days after to ensure the Highland wounded could not be attended to or were summarily finished, so looting or souvenir taking was unlikely I would think.

There were so many forces in the Highland ranks using whatever arms they could bring, so no telling the many types which might have been there.
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Old 30th September 2020, 03:15 PM   #4
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Yes that’s an amazing sword, Jim. Lots of history in that one. Love the patina. I visited the battlefield of Culloden once when I was in Scotland. Some of the Scotsmen managed to escape to safety in Sweden: ” After the Battle of Culloden in 1745, one George Carnegie, who in the battle had fought against his elder brother, fled to the hills of Flenesk and Glenmark with James Carnegie, Laird of Balnamoon and an Ochterlony of Guynd. The three rebels shortly escaped in an open boat from Montrose, were picked up by a Swedish ship, and landed safely in Gothenburg.” (Source: https://electricscotland.com/history/sweden/18.htm)
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Old 1st October 2020, 06:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
Yes that’s an amazing sword, Jim. Lots of history in that one. Love the patina. I visited the battlefield of Culloden once when I was in Scotland. Some of the Scotsmen managed to escape to safety in Sweden: ” After the Battle of Culloden in 1745, one George Carnegie, who in the battle had fought against his elder brother, fled to the hills of Flenesk and Glenmark with James Carnegie, Laird of Balnamoon and an Ochterlony of Guynd. The three rebels shortly escaped in an open boat from Montrose, were picked up by a Swedish ship, and landed safely in Gothenburg.” (Source: https://electricscotland.com/history/sweden/18.htm)



Thank you so much!!! and especially for adding the story!
That is entirely the whole reason for the life's course I began so young, because I loved history, and the swords were iconic.
How amazing it must have been to see Culloden. In our family geneology of course they were Highlanders, and we had ancestors out in both the '15 and '45. The other clans in our ancestry of course were also deeply involved in much other of the history in the Highlands.

I had no idea of the Swedish situation, though I know Scots had been meercenaries in the North European regions much earlier. Prince Charlie ended up back in France, and I know there was a notable Jacobite diaspora after Culloden.
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Old 2nd October 2020, 10:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Thank you so much!!! and especially for adding the story!
That is entirely the whole reason for the life's course I began so young, because I loved history, and the swords were iconic.
How amazing it must have been to see Culloden. In our family geneology of course they were Highlanders, and we had ancestors out in both the '15 and '45. The other clans in our ancestry of course were also deeply involved in much other of the history in the Highlands.

I had no idea of the Swedish situation, though I know Scots had been meercenaries in the North European regions much earlier. Prince Charlie ended up back in France, and I know there was a notable Jacobite diaspora after Culloden.


Jim, Scotland is fantastic! Culloden is a very beautiful place but also a little sad.

Coincidentally my maternal grandfather’s grandmother was called Ouchterlony (Scottish descent). Her grandfather’s grandfather John Ouchterlony was from Dundee (near Montrose and the Guynd) and settled in Karlshamn, Sweden in 1748, where he became a merchant navy ship captain. I don’t know if he was at Culloden in 1746.
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Old 3rd October 2020, 04:34 PM   #7
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Thank you so much Victrix! that's a wonderful but poignant photo, and it must have been amazing to have been on that hallowed ground.
It is difficult to say who was or wasn't at Culloden, for that matter exactly which groups were on which side, their reasons for fighting (the politics involved were anything but clear or consistent ) or what happened in the aftermath.

I know that at least some of my ancestral clan was there, MacKinnon's, and that they were involved in assisting Prince Charlie out of the Isles through Skye.

The wonder of these old weapons is that even though we cannot say for certain they were in a certain place or at a certain time or event, they illustrate the types and often serve as examples contemporary to them.
We can believe whatever we like, and in whatever degree.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful perspective!!!
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Old 5th October 2020, 04:44 PM   #8
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The more and more I look at this sword, I love her!! Just an amazing piece of history. Jim, I think you hit it on the head when you mention the assortment of folks that really made up the Jacobite army. There were Scots, of course, as well as Irish to be sure. There was a large contingent of Catholic Frenchmen as well as disgruntled English soldiers as well. I wouldn't be at all surprised if there wasn't a sprinkling of other nationalities in this makeshift (but impassioned) force. Likewise, I know that those loyal to the crown had English, Irish and Scottish forces. I haven't read enough research to see if George's army might have likewise used mercenaries? In any case, not a clear cut usage of exact weaponry, uniforms, etc. I am so hoping to visit Scotland and Culloden someday.
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Old 6th October 2020, 02:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
The more and more I look at this sword, I love her!! Just an amazing piece of history. Jim, I think you hit it on the head when you mention the assortment of folks that really made up the Jacobite army. There were Scots, of course, as well as Irish to be sure. There was a large contingent of Catholic Frenchmen as well as disgruntled English soldiers as well. I wouldn't be at all surprised if there wasn't a sprinkling of other nationalities in this makeshift (but impassioned) force. Likewise, I know that those loyal to the crown had English, Irish and Scottish forces. I haven't read enough research to see if George's army might have likewise used mercenaries? In any case, not a clear cut usage of exact weaponry, uniforms, etc. I am so hoping to visit Scotland and Culloden someday.



Thank you so much Mark! She has meant a lot to me all these years too!
Actually the more read and discover on the Jacobites and this entire period of events, the diversity of groups involved was remarkable. There was really no need for mercenaries as those following thier cause brought notable numbers of forces, so it would have been impossible to guage how many would be required. It was the same for both sides, and as noted, there were Highlanders with the Hanoverians and English with the Jacobites.

I doubt I will ever get to Scotland, but then, perhaps I've already been
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Old 7th October 2020, 02:40 PM   #10
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Nice English basket! That's a type that I never did manage to find an example of.

--ElJay
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Old 7th October 2020, 06:12 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by E.B. Erickson
Nice English basket! That's a type that I never did manage to find an example of.

--ElJay



Eljay, thank you so much! That means a lot !!!
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Old 13th October 2020, 03:01 PM   #12
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With regards to the Jacobites and their swords, coincidentally I had visited Chiddingstone Castle, Kent not so long ago. The castle was the home of the art collector Denys Eyre Bower, whose collections are displayed there. He had a keen interest in the Jacobites and assembled an excellent grouping of their art and artefacts. The famous fence at Twickenham House made from sword blades recovered from Culloden is mentioned.

I attach a few images I took, for interest, excuse quality as photography through the glass is tricky.

The castle has good displays of Japanese, Buddhist, Egyptian and Jacobite material and well worth a visit. Always check opening times in advance of course.
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Old 14th October 2020, 05:34 AM   #13
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Thank you Colin! Its great to see these photos, sure makes me want to go there. So much history.
The 'fence' from Twickenham was to me a travesty, that those swords of the Jacobite forces were treated so disdainfully. The book by Campbell, "Scottish Swords from the Battlefield at Culloden", shows many of these blades and the markings etc. on them.
It is recorded that only 192 blades were recovered from the battlefield, and a good number of them were disgracefully used in this 'fence'.

Great portrait of Prince Charlie! and it is interesting to know of the eclectic items from far and wide there as well.
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Old 16th October 2020, 02:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Thank you Colin! Its great to see these photos, sure makes me want to go there. So much history.
The 'fence' from Twickenham was to me a travesty, that those swords of the Jacobite forces were treated so disdainfully. The book by Campbell, "Scottish Swords from the Battlefield at Culloden", shows many of these blades and the markings etc. on them.
It is recorded that only 192 blades were recovered from the battlefield, and a good number of them were disgracefully used in this 'fence'.

Great portrait of Prince Charlie! and it is interesting to know of the eclectic items from far and wide there as well.


Thanks Jim, glad you like the photos. I suppose the breaking of the Jacobite swords and then putting them to such base usage was a sort of way of emphasizing the Jacobites' defeat and of denigrating the enemy.

Looking over the internet it seems in the late 19th century the sword fence was taken down and the blades sold to a local scrap metal dealer for 26/- (say US$ 5.00). Many were later removed by Lord Archibald Campbell to Inveraray Castle in Scotland. Would be most interesting to see them.

I first visited Chiddingstone Castle over 25 years ago, they had more material on display then, and if memory serves me well there was an old photograph of the sword fence in situ, in a sort of lattice work style ? But I couldn't see the photo on my last visit, perhaps I am mistaken...

Regards.
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Old 18th October 2020, 04:43 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colin henshaw
Thanks Jim, glad you like the photos. I suppose the breaking of the Jacobite swords and then putting them to such base usage was a sort of way of emphasizing the Jacobites' defeat and of denigrating the enemy.

Looking over the internet it seems in the late 19th century the sword fence was taken down and the blades sold to a local scrap metal dealer for 26/- (say US$ 5.00). Many were later removed by Lord Archibald Campbell to Inveraray Castle in Scotland. Would be most interesting to see them.

I first visited Chiddingstone Castle over 25 years ago, they had more material on display then, and if memory serves me well there was an old photograph of the sword fence in situ, in a sort of lattice work style ? But I couldn't see the photo on my last visit, perhaps I am mistaken...

Regards.



Actually I have a small monograph of the original work by Lord Archibald Campbell in 1894 (limited print and very rare) which was republished by the late Andrew Mowbray in 1971. In it there are a number of original photos of some of the blades (pretty dark and hard to make out). It has been said that 192 swords were 'harvested' from the battlefield (the Jacobites had 1200 casualties).
Of these, there were apparently only two with the GR monogram, of the others most were 'ANDREA FERARA; running wolf and some other markings. There were a couple of blades with crowns and monograms defaced, so apparently Jacobite.
According to this reference, Lord Campbell got 137 of the blades, but could not determine present disposition of them
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Old 22nd November 2020, 09:33 AM   #16
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This is a bit off-topic but I am posting it anyway for interest, as there are parallels with the sword fence discussed already. When searching for information on fences made from redundant weapons, I found two other examples, both in the USA, but using gun barrels instead of swords :-

a) A fence to a house in Georgetown, Washington DC., using old Brown Bess barrels from the Revolutionary War period.

b) A fence to General Ulysses S. Grant's farm in Gravois, St Louis, Missouri, using both surplus gun and cannon barrels from the Civil War period.

I am attaching some images from the internet.

If anyone knows of more instances of fences made from old weapons, or can add to the few details above (not sure if 100% accurate), please do so.
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Old 22nd November 2020, 03:20 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colin henshaw
This is a bit off-topic but I am posting it anyway for interest, as there are parallels with the sword fence discussed already. When searching for information on fences made from redundant weapons, I found two other examples, both in the USA, but using gun barrels instead of swords :-

a) A fence to a house in Georgetown, Washington DC., using old Brown Bess barrels from the Revolutionary War period.

b) A fence to General Ulysses S. Grant's farm in Gravois, St Louis, Missouri, using both surplus gun and cannon barrels from the Civil War period.

I am attaching some images from the internet.

If anyone knows of more instances of fences made from old weapons, or can add to the few details above (not sure if 100% accurate), please do so.



Wow!! Colin this is incredibly fascinating! I had never heard of these, nor for that matter this kind of fence making.....this is repurposing to the Nth degree.
While it is horrifying in a sense, to arms historians such as myself, to see these arms in this context, in a way it is better than losing them to the scrap heap and smelter. Looking forward to further input, perhaps a new thread?
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Old 22nd November 2020, 03:35 PM   #18
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[QUOTE Looking forward to further input, perhaps a new thread?[/QUOTE]

Hi Jim

Thanks, yes a new thread is probably a good idea...
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Old 22nd November 2020, 08:01 PM   #19
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If anyone knows of more instances of fences made from old weapons..., please do so.

Below is a fence made from artillery shells in Brighton, a suburb of Melbourne in Australia. It is a corner property & the fence is along two sides.
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Old 22nd November 2020, 09:21 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adrian
If anyone knows of more instances of fences made from old weapons..., please do so.

Below is a fence made from artillery shells in Brighton, a suburb of Melbourne in Australia. It is a corner property & the fence is along two sides.


Hopefully disarmed...!
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Old 23rd November 2020, 02:01 AM   #21
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Incredible topic and quite fascinating! I agree with Jim that these 'memorials' are a much better fate to these historically important items. Reminds me of the tomb of Otway Burns, a famous privateer and later North Carolina government representative. His tomb has a cannon barrel set into the stone.
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Old 23rd November 2020, 01:59 PM   #22
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Here are some more instances of repurposing old weapons, found while trawling the internet. (It seems the practice was more widespread than previously thought) :-

a) After the Battle of Trafalgar, French cannons were used in London as street bollards or quayside bollards.

b) It's not uncommon in the UK to see fire-tool sets (pan, tongs etc) made from French model 1874 Gras bayonets.

Some images are attached.
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Old 23rd November 2020, 05:44 PM   #23
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