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Old 26th February 2023, 07:52 PM   #1
Norman McCormick
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Default Late 17thC Scottish Broadsword.

Hi,
A new acquisition. It came to me in a pretty poor state but I think I've managed to salvage something worthwhile from the rust. I'll let the photos do the talking meantime.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 26th February 2023, 07:53 PM   #2
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Hi,
This is the condition in which the sword came to me.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 26th February 2023, 09:33 PM   #3
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Great work, Norman .
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Old 26th February 2023, 09:39 PM   #4
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Wow! How on earth did you manage that?? It looks fantastic!

I guess it dates back to 1693 because it says ANNO on the blade on one side. Also, is that the running fox of Shotley Bridge on the blade?
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Old 26th February 2023, 11:37 PM   #5
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Wow Norman! theres a beauty of a Glasgow!!!
Nice job of getting it cleaned with patina still intact.
While the date is likely proper for the sword and its hilting it is not necessarily the date of the blade.

It is likely an earlier Solingen blade, but the slipper (cutler) probably added these spurious markings for obvious reasons. The ' Passau ' wolf (notably used by Solingen)was of course well known to these cutlers, and this is a fairly ubiquitous rendition of the usual form. These were often seen of course on Solingen blades with numbers presumed to be dates on either side (16....wolf...56)however the wolf on Solingen blades was typically upside down to the numbers.
It is unusual also to see ANNO (in) on one side while a date (or perhaps number combination on the other.

These were hilted during the long Jacobite troubles period beginning c. 1689 and going on into the 18th c. with the '15 and '45 the most well known events. The 'magic' of these well known inscriptions and markings of Solingen were not lost on these cutlers, so their addition of them to extant blades in those times would have been well placed.

A toast of the Drambuie to this one!!!!! aye!!!!
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Old 27th February 2023, 05:03 AM   #6
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Nice work and great save!
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Old 1st March 2023, 08:08 PM   #7
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Hi Guys,
Thanks for the positive remarks. A lot of patience, a light touch, a well used 600 grit piece of paper and WD40 did the trick re the rust. Thanks Jim for your input as always. I know these swords are one of your favourites. There could be a lot of history behind this sword but alas we will never know only speculate.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 2nd March 2023, 08:39 AM   #8
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Absolutely a marvelous piece, Norman! I particularly like the 'S'-patterned braces. These types are a little rarer than the standard baskets with the three saltires. It appears your basket did have a wrist guard at one time (the quillon that extends from the basket), but broke off, which is a very common occurrence. In this case, that would date the basket to post-1700, as this feature was added to deflect the dreaded wrist slash common in Scottish fencing. An amazing survivor from the Jacobite period!
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Old 2nd March 2023, 07:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY View Post
Absolutely a marvelous piece, Norman! I particularly like the 'S'-patterned braces. These types are a little rarer than the standard baskets with the three saltires. It appears your basket did have a wrist guard at one time (the quillon that extends from the basket), but broke off, which is a very common occurrence. In this case, that would date the basket to post-1700, as this feature was added to deflect the dreaded wrist slash common in Scottish fencing. An amazing survivor from the Jacobite period!
Hi Mark,
I actually have the broken quillion/wrist guard and am in the process of trying to find someone suitable to reattach said quillion without compromising the integrity of the sword but I'm not having much luck. I've a feeling that I will probably leave the problem to the next custodian if I can't find anybody soon.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 3rd March 2023, 01:31 AM   #10
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what a great find and a super restoration you have done
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Old 3rd March 2023, 11:54 AM   #11
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Default wolves and numbers

An exemplary description of the dates and wolves Jim (as usual).
I have a Hounslow Hangar with a latten version of that wolf and it is - as you point out - reversed.
The inscription is ANNO 1553 and for a long time I was frustrated in finding a connection between a 1630s sword-blade and an event in 1553 (which was the tragic 9 day reign of 16 year old Queen Anne before being executed).
Your suggestion that the numbers were probably talismanic hit the mark.
I agree, this broadsword blade was probably Hounslow made and re-hilted during the Jacobite rebellions with the numbers added then.
There is much contention regarding the importing of Solingen blades into the Hounslow industry versus the use of the Passau Wolf by those Germans working there and I don't think we will ever reach a satisfactory decision.
Fantastic restoration work Norman.
BTW
There is an adhesive that will effectively cold-weld your bits together Norman: it is sold in auto accessories shops. I have found it quite remarkable.
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Old 3rd March 2023, 10:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanspaceman View Post
An exemplary description of the dates and wolves Jim (as usual).
I have a Hounslow Hangar with a latten version of that wolf and it is - as you point out - reversed.
The inscription is ANNO 1553 and for a long time I was frustrated in finding a connection between a 1630s sword-blade and an event in 1553 (which was the tragic 9 day reign of 16 year old Queen Anne before being executed).
Your suggestion that the numbers were probably talismanic hit the mark.
I agree, this broadsword blade was probably Hounslow made and re-hilted during the Jacobite rebellions with the numbers added then.
There is much contention regarding the importing of Solingen blades into the Hounslow industry versus the use of the Passau Wolf by those Germans working there and I don't think we will ever reach a satisfactory decision.
Fantastic restoration work Norman.
BTW
There is an adhesive that will effectively cold-weld your bits together Norman: it is sold in auto accessories shops. I have found it quite remarkable.
l


Thank you Keith!
As you note, there will never really be a consensus on the overall circumstances involving the German makers in Hounslow early in the 17th c., later in the century Shotley Bridge. Your research over these past years have brought forth the most compelling overview of sword production in England involving these.

It would seem that with both of these production centers and the German smiths featured in them, there was potential for both actual blades produced as well as an undetermined number of imported blades to enhance the production volume. As there were numerous shops and makers, there were various options present, so it would be hard to say one thing or another adamantly.

On this blade (OP) it appears clearly that the date, and the wolf were spuriously added, but this only enhances the possibilities of the sword and its assembly, which would have been in the turbulent times of the latter 17thc.and in these regions of Scotland and northern England. We have learned that the Border Reivers account for many of the interesting sword types in these times and the innovative skills of their armorers in making them.

It would not be unreasonable to consider one of these 'sword slippers' using a blade from Solingen and copying the convention of anno/ numbers and wolf in legitimizing the weapon with imbued character.

The use of numbers, while in some cases might indeed represent a date, many are commemorative as suggesting key dates aligned with important events to the existing climate of the time, or indeed represent talismanic numbers. The word ANNO simply means in 'the year of'. ...so would seem to signify a defined year, but whether made then, or recalling another date, who knows.
With your sword and the 1553, there was no doubt it was talismanic as the blade was obviously not of that period. Oner of the most common number combinations has been 1414 or sometimes 1441, but there are various other combinations (Wagner, 1967).

Mark, well noted on the wristguard extension as broken off in this one,
as Whitelaw has noted, these were indeed added to prevent the notorious wrist cut often used in Scottish swordsmanship.

Attached shows this feature
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Old 4th March 2023, 04:58 AM   #13
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Thanks, Jim for posting that pic of the basket with the wrist guard. I hadn't thought about the fact that these were also added to earlier baskets, so Norman's might be pre-1700 with a later wrist guard added. If only this sword could talk, eh!?

Keith, that is an incredible Houndslow iron-hilt you have! I've wanted one of these for many years now and hope to someday acquire one! They were popular among the sailors of that time period and would help me round out my collection. Thanks for posting it-
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Old 4th March 2023, 09:07 AM   #14
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This is the Hounslow cutlass I have, and the running wolf, while in latten, as is Keiths, as often seen in some Solingen blades, its configuration seems contrary to those of Solingen.It also stands alone, without date, numbers etc.

In " Arms and Armor in Tudor & Stuart London", M. Holmes, 1957, p.30, "...as has been said, Hounslow swords are generally single edged cavalry weapons for cut and thrust work, or curved cutlasses for use at sea. The backs of these latter are often serrated'
* a footnote from another reference from 1686 has mention of sawing with a backsword by a shipmaster, indicating these were still in use by this date. This example is likely of the late 1630s in line with the number of other examples aligned with this.

On p.33, it is noted, "...a cutlass with a serrated back dated 1634 marked with the fox, a symbol occasionally found on Hounslow work".

It has often been suggested that the German makers of Hounslow and later Shotley took to using the running wolf in a sense to spite their former allegiance to the Solingen guilds. I think that is on the contrary, and that the convention of the wolf image remained a talismanic imbuement from the earlier days of the famed 'Passau wolf' where such markings were indeed intended in this manner, and were deemed among other amuletic devices known as 'Passau art'. This was of course picked up by Solingen where in addition to the image suggested quality in addition to its more occult placement prior in Passau.

This practice was surely adopted later elsewhere, such as Shotley Bridge where it is believed the wolf became a bushy tail fox, which carried into later Birmingham manufacture with Samuel Harvey well into the 18th c.
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Old 4th March 2023, 11:41 AM   #15
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Default Passau Wolf

Johannes Wundes appears to have been the principle user of this particular rendering of the Passau Wolf.
He put this image on blades he supplied to Passau merchants who were selling to Passau mercenaries of Arch-Duke Leopold V. (see image)
The Munsten family also used this same style of wolf, so these blades may have come from Solingen or might have been made by Peter Munsten (the younger) while working at Hounslow.
Olligh, of Shotley Bridge fame, did not use the Passau Wolf as has been assumed on many occasions. Those blades marked SHOTLE(Y) BRIDG(E) with a Passau Wolf were smuggled-in by Hermann Mohll at the start of the enterprise. Once Olligh attained independence he went back to using the Bushy Tailed Fox.
It is probably impossible to determine where blades came from purely by the presence of the wolf.
However, I think Norman's sword-blade came with the wolf and the date was added when it was re-hilted. The presence of the wolf is what made the blade desirable and worthy of a re-hilting.
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Last edited by urbanspaceman; 4th March 2023 at 11:52 AM. Reason: correcting an ambiguity
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Old 4th March 2023, 11:50 AM   #16
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Just as an afterthought pertinent to my last post rather than the subject of the thread - as Jim mentioned it:
The Bushy Tailed Fox was the 'Oley of Shotley Bridge' mark and he also put it on blades he was selling to Birmingham smiths such as the Samuel Harvey dynasty who would subsequently add their initials or names to ensure they were paid by The Tower, as back then the BTF was always associated with Oley... and hopefully now - remains so; just wanted to set the record straight at last.

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Old 4th March 2023, 03:40 PM   #17
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Hi Guys,
Thanks for the ongoing interest and of course the info shared. Also the kind words re the restoration. It has been an interesting journey. On another note, is there a consensus as to the probable source and time frame for the blade and also one for the hilt?
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 9th March 2023, 09:49 AM   #18
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Sorry I missed your question, Norman. The basket itself seems like it fits into the 1690's-1840 period. This seems a little broad, but the pattern didn't change much in this era. The larger saltires, the way the hilt bars enter the pommel and the punched hearts and merlons all indicate pre-1750. The wrist guard, if not added later, would push the date to post-1700. The thin bars are more of the style of the Sterling smiths (as opposed to the 'flat noodle bars of the Glasgow smiths). The blade could easily be as marked, late 1600's. This was not uncommon to see older blades with 'newer' baskets. Do you remember my sword with the ca. 1730's basket, but 1690's blade by Peter Wundes the Younger? These German blades were imported into the UK where local smiths forged the hilts.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=25466
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Old 10th March 2023, 02:41 PM   #19
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Hi Mark,
Thanks once again for your input. I do remember your Wundes blade a fine sword and a great find.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 20th March 2023, 09:50 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanspaceman View Post

BTW
There is an adhesive that will effectively cold-weld your bits together Norman: it is sold in auto accessories shops. I have found it quite remarkable.
Hi Urbanspaceman,
Do you mean cold epoxy weld, there are several varieties,
is there a specific one best for this type of job? I did think of a bronze/brass braze
as this was a method used to join metal sections in the 18thC. e.g. steel scabbards and then there is the modern weld and try to disguise the fact. Of course the other method is to leave well alone and let the next incumbent resolve the issue. Many thanks for your interesting contribution re this sword.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 21st March 2023, 01:09 AM   #21
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Hi Norman. Yes, cold epoxy weld is the stuff. It was some time ago when I last used this glue and I don't remember what make it was. I was not aware there were major differences but, as I say, it has been a while and maybe the success of the early products stimulated copycats. I would suggest after thorough de-greasing (alcohol) that you lightly brush the two surfaces with a soft wire brush and check for a good dry fit, then go ahead and glue.
My product dried to a mid to light grey colour which seems appropriate in this instance.
Hope this is of some help. Best regards, Keith.
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Old 21st March 2023, 02:34 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanspaceman View Post
Hi Norman. Yes, cold epoxy weld is the stuff. It was some time ago when I last used this glue and I don't remember what make it was. I was not aware there were major differences but, as I say, it has been a while and maybe the success of the early products stimulated copycats. I would suggest after thorough de-greasing (alcohol) that you lightly brush the two surfaces with a soft wire brush and check for a good dry fit, then go ahead and glue.
My product dried to a mid to light grey colour which seems appropriate in this instance.
Hope this is of some help. Best regards, Keith.
Hi Keith,
Thanks for the further tips.
My Regards,
Norman.
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