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Old 19th September 2021, 06:07 PM   #44
Jim McDougall
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
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I wanted to add some notes on these basket hilts for perspective. The first is my own basket hilt, which was found in an estate sale in Maryland some years ago. This is of course the Glasgow style hilt (just as Mark's) and basically of same period, however the extended wrist guard has been added (probably in early years of 18th c).
The blade is of course Solingen, with the spurious 'SEBASTIAN' (Hernandez) with the 'anchor' mark. The other 'sextant' type mark is of Wirsberg, c.1650s. It has often been thought that this mark might be a sextant (found on some hanger blades, but seems the arc was wider), but bugle seems more likely.



This just added to nod toward the fact that basket hilts were indeed used at sea and this instance likely increased in the early 18th c.
In 1707, the acts which combined England and Scotland were matter of great issue of course, and the flow of emigration to the American colonies greatly increased from Scotland. Primarily this is because Scottish shipping now became powerfully more abundant, and Scottish emigrants had more opportunity for transport.

According to academic studies, there were three 'waves' of emigration, first mostly lowland; then Highland; then Ulster, 1700-1775. This is of course highly generalized, and the first Highlanders said to have arrived at Cape Fear, N.C. in 1729 (according to records of course).

The Highlanders were of course present earlier, as the news report earlier mentioned with the death of Blackbeard in 1718 attributes his end to a Highlander. We know that the men who had joined Maynard on his 2 sloops to track down Blackbeard were locals in Carolina, so a Highland member seems logical. These were not sea going crews, but local men, possibly from a militia type group.

Returning to the evolution of the Glasgow style hilt, it has been said that John Simpson may have begun this form (he began in 1683) which seems to be changing the center shields from round to rectangular, and using saltire bars instead of 'ribbons'.

The ribbon hilt (next photo) has typically been regarded as latter 17th c. however we now know they were a type earlier, c. 1650s.
This just added to illustrate the evolution of these basket hilts we now know as 'Glasgow' hilts. The more elaborate 'Stirling' hilts followed in the early 18th c. with often more artistic 'story board' type themes and decoration wrought with symbolism. While the Glasgow hilts were more rudimentary, their pierced decoration often carried far more nuanced and stylized symbolism.

Later, the Glasgow form was copied in basic for the 'garrison' (military) type hilts produced mostly by Jeffries and Drury in London, and mounted on various blades, typically German but by their time (c. 1750s) some Birmingham made., Next picture of one of these hilts.
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Last edited by Jim McDougall; 19th September 2021 at 06:21 PM.
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