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Old 22nd September 2021, 08:15 PM   #48
Jim McDougall
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Originally Posted by fernando View Post
From all 'certainties' we read out there about the whereabouts of this famous sword, one i find wise to take into account is:
" I suspect Rob Roy had as many swords as he had hiding places ! ".

Always good to be skeptical, as it leads to further study and discovery of more compelling evidence. Typically with things historical, there is seldom a final word or conclusion. I have always favored the words, "the thing I love most about history is that it's always changin'!"

Things about Rob Roy MacGregor became expectedly clouded by the fact that he had become essentially legendary in his own time, with the novel "The Highland Rogue" (1723) and the usual local tales. With nearly a century later, Sir Walter Scott's novel "Rob Roy", all this escalated, and of course Scott created a museum or sorts with Rob Roy's purported memorabilia, which was sold to him by a hawker of these tales.

These items of course included 'his sword' (NOT this one we are discussing) and weaponry that had nothing to do with MacGregor.

The story of our sword begins with a family who went to Scottish sword master Paul MacDonald in Edinburgh in 2007, to have the sword of Rob Roy's opponent Charles Stuart restored. With that, he undertook going through the channels he of course had well established, to find the ACTUAL sword of Rob Roy.

As a professional researcher and sword expert, he did find the sword, with remarkable provenance in Moidart, where it had been with a family connected to MacGregor through land dealings etc. It was not in the greatest shape, and had actually been kept in a shed ,hardly the kind of context you would expect a much heralded weapon being exploited as Rob Roy's, instead simply a sword in a family who had given little thought to its importance.

Naturally you are not the first skeptic to think of this, and obviously Maestro MacDonald knew what he would face with this project. Along with restoration comes research and investigation. These efforts are not commonly undertaken by those who rely on the word of others to draw their conclusions.

You note, Rob Roy probably had as many swords as he had hiding places
An interesting analogy, however, the Scots, especially Highlanders, were not like Europeans who might have had a case of rapiers (pair) and several smallswords etc.
The Scot had 'his' sword, which was his pride and honor, much as with the Japanese Samurai.

Earlier in the discussion, we discussed the fact that on the field of Culloden, where well over a thousand men were killed and wounded, of over 4000. ...only 190 broadswords were recovered.

With this, many writers have claimed the Highlanders (rebels) had muskets and pistols, thus the charging Highlander with broadsword is a myth concerning the Culloden travesty.

In my own study of the battle, some of which I described earlier in the thread, it is clear that the broadsword was the PRIMARY weapon. The rebels, after over half hour of pounding by artillery, were pent up and furious, they had men around them blown to pieces. In a raging fury they charged, and threw down their muskets and pistols, unfired in many cases...........raising their broadswords and screaming toward the enemy. Hanoverian accounts noted the ferocity of the Highlanders, like wild animals, and terrifying.
The words of one, over the deafening noise could be heard the clanging of blades as they hit musket barrels, the Highlanders blinded by smoke and fury.

I have read accounts of men seeing their fallen kinsmen, often brothers, cousins, and picking up their swords to be taken away, these were in a manner of speaking, the soul of the Scot. THAT is why there were so few swords found on the field.

If the Scots broadsword was just another sword, out of a cabinet full, or simply a handy tool kept in key locations, like a gun..........such care would not have been taken.

That was the reason the Hanoverians wanted these broadswords, they KNEW. and why they deliberately made the disgraceful fence from the recovered show disdain to the Jacobites in the most hurtful way, by disgracing their broadswords...thus them.

TRUE, after the fact, people would of course try to hawk swords, just as other items, claiming they were Rob Roy's.......but this had nothing to do with the real Rob Roy in history.
The acts of these charlatans had nothing to do with Rob Roy, who had HIS broadsword, and not swords hidden all over the place. If he may have had others received as gifts etc., which might have occurred, they were still not his sword.

Thanks for the chance to express this in more detail. It really is pretty fascinating history, and though I've studied it many times over the past decades, it never gets old (like me) and I keep learning.
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