Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > European Armoury
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 28th September 2020, 04:01 AM   #1
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 7,927
Default 18th Century Scottish basket hilt with cavalry saber blade

This basket hilt appears to be one of the military form produced by Nathaniel Jeffries in London around 1750-1760 to infantry privates, and most notably to the 42nd Highlanders ('Black Watch'). While it seems these were also produced by Drury there as well, it is unclear which actually produced this one as it does not have the original blade.
Also, there are no apparent issue marks on the hilt.

It would be plausible that this sword was in use from 1750 to 1770s when these ceased being issued to infantry. What is intriguing with this example is that it had its working life extended with being remounted with a M1788 British light cavalry blade. The cross section of the blade is 'montmorency' style which suggests a blade by James Wooley of Birmingham who favored this form in his 1788 blades, but this seems a bit heavier and unmarked.

It seems unusual to see a curved cavalry blade mounted in an otherwise 'infantry' basket hilt, but I have seen one other like this about 30 years ago. This one was an acquisition in late 70s.

Would appreciate any thoughts or if anyone else has seen one of these c. 1750 London military basket hilts with cavalry blade.
Attached Images
   
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd October 2020, 01:23 AM   #2
Battara
EAAF Staff
 
Battara's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 6,602
Default

Not sure if this helps but these hilts were in use through the American Revolution.
Battara is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd October 2020, 03:15 AM   #3
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 7,927
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
Not sure if this helps but these hilts were in use through the American Revolution.



Absolutely!!! and the numbers of these and European swords dating even into the previous century as well. The 1973 book by George Neumann "Swords and Blades of the American Revolution" is a virtual catalog of all of these and has become essential for the study of European and American swords of these times.

Actually the 42nd Highlanders (Black Watch) had these very hilts at Boston in 1776 but ceased carrying them. However these were also in use by various infantry units.
What is remarkable on this one is that it was later mounted with this 1788 light cavalry blade so hard to say where it went after that modification.

Thank you so much for answering, I was hoping for response.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th October 2020, 02:37 PM   #4
E.B. Erickson
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 61
Default

Saw one at the Great Western show eons ago. The one I saw looked composite.

--ElJay
E.B. Erickson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th October 2020, 06:28 AM   #5
Battara
EAAF Staff
 
Battara's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 6,602
Default

So Jim are you saying that this blade is older than the basket?
Battara is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th October 2020, 04:46 PM   #6
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 7,927
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
So Jim are you saying that this blade is older than the basket?

No, actually much 'newer', it is a M1788 light cavalry saber blade, which were being made in Birmingham by Thomas Gill and James Wooley, but this one is unmarked. At the time there was considerable friction in the industry (mostly initiated by Thomas Gill) about the ever present dominance of German blades in British swords. With this these makers push to present the quality of thier blades, they distinctly marked them, even to the level of such pronouncement with 'warranted' marked on them. I think Samuel Harvey also made blades.

The hilt is a munitions grade style made in London by Jeffries around 1757, and these were mounted typically with German made straight backsword blades for use by the British army, usually infantry.

It seems this hilt was remounted for use, probably by a 'flank company',
using a M1788 cavalry blade, in circumstances unknown, but flank companies tended to favor curved saber blades on swords used by them.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th October 2020, 05:04 AM   #7
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 7,927
Default

To add to the previous post on these distinctly 'English' hilts:
From "Scottish Swords from the Battlefield at Culloden", by Andrew Mowbray (1971) which is a summarized version of the very rare (1894) work written by Lord Archibald Campbell, who had acquired some 137 of the 192 swords collected on that battlefield in 1746.

p.11:
"...around 1740, Drury, Jeffries, Harvey and possibly others accepted contracts from the English government to produce swords of the Highland pattern. These smiths produced a cheap but quite serviceable basket hilted sword to arm Scottish regiments in English service along with certain Highland companies then being raised".
(these were a rough approximation of 'Glasgow' style and two of them were among the Culloden group).

"...This Birmingham sword of the 1740s was produced in considerable quantities, certainly enough to arm a few regiments, yet, paradoxically it is quite rare.
Many of this crude but most important and desirable type that have come down to us show evidences of fire or other rough treatment and it may be that the bulk of these swords suffered just such a common fate while iin storage in some arsenal or castle following their obsolescence as tactical fighting weapons for Highland troops".

It would seem that, as noted in this reference some years ago by a most esteemed collector and author gives us some key perspective on how this sword might have come to being remounted as in its present state.

This 'rarity' of certain pattern swords with several models occurred in the 19th century due to fire, one in the Tower of London armouries (I think it was the M1829 heavy cavalry troopers sword).
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 08:52 AM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.