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Old 2nd October 2023, 11:43 PM   #301
Peter Hudson
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Default This is such an important thread....

Hi Kieth ... Before you started to unpack the details of this work Forum had nothing in its archives about this subject. The Swordmakers of Shotley Bridge turns out to be a cornerstone and key to the development of English Swords. Long may it continue to amaze and impress readers and followers of this fine work.

Its time we got together again for lunch at the Crown and Crossed Swords...

Regards, Peter Hudson.
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Old 3rd October 2023, 05:45 PM   #302
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German Sword-Smiths in Shotley Bridge By Keith Fisher


To refresh readers on Keiths amazing book on this important Swordmaker

please see https://shotleybridgevillagetrust.co...hotley-bridge/

This is a free illustration of this key sword maker at your fingertips...

Regards, Peter Hudson.

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Old 4th November 2023, 01:34 PM   #303
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Default The stone lintel above number 44 Wood Street.

Keith, As you know the lintel above 44 WOOD STREET vanished in the late 50s with the demolition of all the industrial /swordmakers houses. My question is that the inscription above the door mentioned a date of 1591 and fortunately you have that in your book. Was this an important date? or is it a Psalm. i.e. the 91st Psalm? 15.91

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Old 4th November 2023, 01:44 PM   #304
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Default Other building now vanished near The Crown and Crossed Swords.

Yesterday we spoke about other buildings near The Crown and Crossed Swords.

As you know this was two buildings notably The Crown and Crossed Swords originally called The Swords and the next door Commercial Hotel.

There were a few other some quite substantial dwellings between the car park and the narrower road (in those earlier days) which were overlooking the Bridge Inn ..These were quite substantial houses and would have given the feeling of a centre village format more like a village square. I have a couple of pictures to illustrate that but the system isnt playing... so I will try a web reference... .
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Old 4th November 2023, 01:47 PM   #305
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Default Lintel date

Hi Peter. The only foto we have of the lintel is very poor and the 6 looks like a 5.
It was 1691 when the building was dedicated.
There was another lintel recorded prior to it being lost and that includes a quote from Psalms:

DEUTSCHLAND IST UNEVER VATTERLANDS
SOLINGEN IST DIE STADT VERLASSEN
HERR BEHUT DEINEN AUSGANG
UND EINGANG

GERMANY IS OUR FATHERLAND
SOLINGEN IS THE TOWN FORSAKEN
LORD PROTECT YOUR ENTRY
AND EXIT

"The last line is taken from Psalm 121, verse 8:"
"The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in
from this time forth and even for evermore."
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Old 4th November 2023, 01:51 PM   #306
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Default pictures

That is a very welcome issue.
I look forward to seeing those fotos.
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Old 4th November 2023, 02:35 PM   #307
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Default 1691

Ah yes I see it on page77 of your book... Got that... The date of first Cutlers Hall dedicated by Adam Oley in Wood Street.. Thanks...

I cannot upload the pictures but you have it also outlined relating to the variety of names applied to The Crown and Crossed Swords and the next door Commercial Inn at page 78 of your book. At some point it became Commercial Hotel....Those buildings near the carpark are all disappeared now and the shops in the village centre have changed hands several times... I agree that the Wilsons shop was a hardware shop..and you know my views on the real reason that I reckon the Germans chose the Shotley Bridge location and unrelated to any of the previous theories. If they could have fitted a moat and searchlights around it Im sure they would have done so..
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Old 4th November 2023, 03:19 PM   #308
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Commercial Hotel.

Please see https://shotleybridgevillagetrust.co...-carousel-4439

Other detail on this site are in my view incorrect as the new sign above the door was fitted at about 8am as I was standing outside waiting for the works bus to go to the new reservoir...in 1964 ..summer holiday job. That sign comprised a fairly lumpy and horrible crossed sword arrangement which is still there! Next door was the Crossed Swords... given the name The Crown and Crossed Swords.... at some stage. Opposite was The Kings Head on the Durham side of the Derwent which used to be called The Bridge End...

Peter Hudson
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Old 6th November 2023, 08:34 PM   #309
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Default New Museum opening soon....

Name:  ©ShotleyOneComposite.jpg
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From a museum in Hawick in the Scottish Borders which will be an absolute must to visit when it opens in the new year. The Curator is Mr Brian Moffat an expert in all things Border Reivers...and a member of this Forum. Illustrated here are Swords of Shotley Bridge thus indicating probable strong links as Jacobite swords entering the Culloden sphere pre 1746.

Regards,
Peter Hudson.

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Old 6th November 2023, 09:33 PM   #310
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Default Holles et al.

The above sword was forged in Shotley Bridge by Adam Oligh for John Holles.
Although a staunch royalist, Holles was a devoted Protestant and supported Danby when he held York for Prince William during the Glorious Revolution in 1688.
His father-in-law had left all the Newcastle estates to Holles but not the title until 1694 when he became Duke of Newcastle.
Whether the swords were made for his militia in 1688 or after 1694 is not known, but regardless they were Shotley Bridge blades; I personally think the latter.
Lord Gort of Hamsterly Hall (adjacent to Shotley Bridge) collected several swords made in the village: the smuggled blades with the Passau Wolf remain in storage at the Laing Art Gallery (see image) but that back-sword (along with another) with only the script ,stayed with the descendants of Lord Gort who was, incidentally, younger brother of WW1 Victoria Cross hero Viscount Gort (John Vereker).
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Old 6th November 2023, 09:55 PM   #311
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Default Holles Back-sword

Here is a Holles back-sword from the Laing.
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Old 6th November 2023, 11:02 PM   #312
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Default Laing Art Gallery...

I see that Thomas Bewick has much work at the Laing. He was apprenticed to shotley sword makers and much involved in illustrations and engraving/ decorationon blades etc.

I have no proof at all that he was instrumental at bringing the emblem of the Running Fox ...we sometimes call the Bushytail Fox to the swords of Shotley Bridge ...except that he was probably the finest illustrator of wild animals in this country and was the source of many vast works on the subject.

Bewick also pointed to the fact that many retired sailors and soldiers took their knicknames from those various wild animals ...like Hawk, Wolf, Raven, Fox etc...

He wrote: A History of British Birds, A Conspiracy of Ravens: A Compendium of Collective Nouns for Birds, Uit de Hooglanden - Zes Schotse Fantastische Vertellingen, Memorial Edition of Thomas Bewick's Works: A Memoir of Thomas Bewick, Written by Himself. a New Ed., Prefaced and Annotated by Austin Dobson, My Life, The Fox at the Manger, Memorial Edition of Thomas Bewick's Works: A History of British Birds: Water Birds

My favourite is Memorial Edition of Thomas Bewick's Works: A Memoir of Thomas Bewick, Written by Himself. Chapter iv
states that he etched sword blades for W and N Oley at Shotley Bridge.

Regards Peter Hudson.

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Old 7th November 2023, 07:02 PM   #313
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I once owned a longcase clock with a dial painted with birds by Bewick... but at the time I didn't realise it...
The backplate of the movement was cast with the name Beilby.. (more famous for glass enamelling.... and Bewick turned out to be his dial painter.

I swapped it with a friend for a Japanese bronze eagle... then found out about the Bewick connection ... I phoned him immediately but he had swopped it again.. and who knows where it ended up.

With regard to Holles and the Jacobites.... It is strongly suspected that Shotley was supplying the Jacobites...?

And... now this is now't more than speculation... but the easy way to cover up such a practice was simply to overproduce on a contract.. and pass the overrun on to whoever it suites...And for instance... the Governor of Tynemouth Castle was suspected of supporting the "Cause."
That practice still goes on today... "a little bit left over from a job."
Nothing changes...
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Old 7th November 2023, 08:50 PM   #314
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Default Bewick

[QUOTE=Peter Hudson;285862]
My favourite is Memorial Edition of Thomas Bewick's Works: A Memoir of Thomas Bewick, Written by Himself. Chapter iv
states that he etched sword blades for W and N Oley at Shotley Bridge.

Hi Peter. I also have that book... my only Bewick book.
It was Bewick's first job as an apprentice to the Beilbys; they were the company/family who presented the Oleys with the infamous glass that was on display in the entrance of Wilkinson Sword's factory up here, then the MD took it to the Joicey Museum to accompany the permanent exhibition of the SB enterprise AND DROPPED IT!
Bewick was etching and engraving in the same year as the glass was presented i.e. 1767.
I think the Beilbys meant the glass to celebrate a century of sword production and got the date wrong.
I also suspect there was a hiatus in the Wilsons' bloodline, as they did all the engraving and etching (and hilting) both before and after. Actually, they were doing all that work for Bertram's output before the Germans arrived in 1687.
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Old 8th November 2023, 07:55 PM   #315
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Moffatt View Post
I once owned a longcase clock with a dial painted with birds by Bewick... but at the time I didn't realise it...
The backplate of the movement was cast with the name Beilby.. (more famous for glass enamelling.... and Bewick turned out to be his dial painter.

I swapped it with a friend for a Japanese bronze eagle... then found out about the Bewick connection ... I phoned him immediately but he had swopped it again.. and who knows where it ended up.

With regard to Holles and the Jacobites.... It is strongly suspected that Shotley was supplying the Jacobites...?

And... now this is now't more than speculation... but the easy way to cover up such a practice was simply to overproduce on a contract.. and pass the overrun on to whoever it suites...And for instance... the Governor of Tynemouth Castle was suspected of supporting the "Cause."
That practice still goes on today... "a little bit left over from a job."
Nothing changes...
Dear Brian, Indeed the Beilby/ Bewick stable created a great number of works on wildlife including portfolios on Birds and other animals . The subject that I looked at was the book on Quadrupeds which included The Fox. Of course this rang a very loud bell since the Running Fox interested me as the emblem on Shotley Bridge Sword blades.

I think there must have been swords squeaking out and into Jacobite hands
as Shotley Bridge was well placed to do so; secretly across the Derwent and on up to Scotland ...

Regards, Peter Hudson.
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Old 8th November 2023, 11:36 PM   #316
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Default Bushy Tailed Fox

As attractive as it is to associate Thomas Bewick with Oley's Bushy Tailed Fox, I'm afraid the first known incarnation (see lower pic) dates to the end of the 1600s; and the ubiquitous stylised version (which is certainly worthy of Bewick) begins in the 1740s when Bewick hadn't been born. His association with the Oleys was in 1767.

There is no question that the Jacobites were supplied by the SB endeavour. I have even begun to wonder if Harmon Mohll was not already smuggling in blades before Oley and his team arrived; it would certainly cement the desirability in everyone's imagination as to the suitability of the Derwent River location, but this is just my fanciful conjecture.
The 48 bundles of blades seized in 1703 when Mohll was arrested at the mouth of the Tyne were definitely destined for Jacobites... probably Blackett. Queen Anne confiscated them after Mohll was released.
Incidentally, Queen Anne herself was a Jacobite and wanted the crown to pass to the Old Pretender (who would have been James III) on her death.
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Old 8th November 2023, 11:46 PM   #317
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Default Glass

Just for reference purposes: the glass was enamelled by Mary Beilby.
The inscription reads:
SUCCESS TO THE SWORDMAKERS on one side, and:
O
W A
1767
on the other side, which stands for OLEY - WILLIAM - ANNE.
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Old 9th November 2023, 07:59 AM   #318
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Hudson View Post
Dear Brian, Indeed the Beilby/ Bewick stable created a great number of works on wildlife including portfolios on Birds and other animals . The subject that I looked at was the book on Quadrupeds which included The Fox. Of course this rang a very loud bell since the Running Fox interested me as the emblem on Shotley Bridge Sword blades.

I think there must have been swords squeaking out and into Jacobite hands
as Shotley Bridge was well placed to do so; secretly across the Derwent and on up to Scotland ...

Regards, Peter Hudson.
Hello Peter,
I've added new photo's of the "Gort" halberd to my posting.. the inscription is now more visible but still just as enigmatic.
I'll get round to the other two eventually... but pressure of work means that they will have to stay on the back burner for a while, since getting the Museum up and running has to take priority if we are to get it off the ground by early next year...

My own take on all of the the Shotley business, would be to find out a great deal more about Mr Bertram his products, and his connections....

If anyone comes across a certain Gilbert Charlton MacDonald at Shotley Bridge post 1745.. I would be much obliged if they could let me know... since he is a Great Great whatever of mine on my Mothers side...
I saw him described as a "Shingler" at Shotley Bridge years back but lost the reference in the depths of an old computer and and simply cannot find it again!
Shinglers, I believe, pounded the "Iron" to remove slag inclusions....
His presence at Shotley is a long story way outside the scope of this forum, but it does involve the '45 and escape from hanging ...Etc!
The "Charlton" was picked up from the Charltons of Hesleyside....
Cheers,
Brian.
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Old 9th November 2023, 02:58 PM   #319
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Default Bertram

Hi Brian. Hope you haven't dropped any glass on your foot/feet.
I know you are too busy to start reading my book but I will send you a copy anyway as amongst other questions you have asked there are details/answers of the Bertram saga.
Pretty much everything that can be known about this remarkable family is in my book... obviously, because along with the Vintons we see the true beginnings of the Shotley Bridge endeavour - many years before Johannes Dell and his mates arrived in 1685.
Just a teaser: his name was actually Berhtraban which is old High German; he was born and raised in Remscheid, which was the iron and steel working area of the Wupper Valley.
His output from his Derwent Valley forge(s): Allensford, Blackhall and Derwentcote, was known as 'Newcastle Steel' and was universally acknowledged as the world's finest. (see picture)
Incidentally, the use of the word 'shear' in describing steel derives from the Yorkshire textile industry's use for cutting-tool standards.
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Old 9th November 2023, 09:33 PM   #320
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Aye Keith...
So I should start looking for "Bertram era" swords on my travels....?
Be interesting to try and work out the blade construction...

Do they have anything to do with the Bertrams up by Ford?
Always thought of that branch as "reiving stock" with that "Richard Nixon" look that characterises the Armstrongs.
Mate of mine from my London days....long lost touch with, was one of those Bertrams...

Amazing how these genes pass down.. often folk wonder how I guess their surnames just by looking at them... Fosters in particular....
Sorry... I'm rambling..still got the dreaded "brain (Brian) fog" post Covid.
All the Best,
Brian
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Old 15th April 2024, 03:34 AM   #321
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Keith I think a visit to The Hawick museum is in order...

Oh by the way I SEE A number of specialists on the web now admitting that the running Fox was applied by Shotley Bridge Sword Makers... even The British Museum!
I focuss on Bewick......and from his expertise as the author of World Quadrupeds and as he was apprenticed to Oley as an engraver ...and how amazing some of the sword blade animals were ...On looking at Bewick s sketches of Foxes and in fact Dogs it occured to me that this could be where it all started for the Shotley Bridge Running Fox or what we know it as The Bushy Tailed Fox in a bid to differentiate from The Passau Wolf.

Reference your post earlier on the glassware done by Mary Beilby thinking again about the Bewick potential as the originator of Oleys Running Fox..

I have to say that these days finding any reference of Bewick working with Oley at SB is not easy as I think much of the notes on that subject have been erased.. Anyway after about an hour searching I found a short burst at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/6007...-h/60075-h.htm at volume 4. but nothing substantial...

There are a few interesting names that appear including the Names of both Belbys and both were in glass production/ decoration as per your post on the glasswork above. In his memoirs Bewick mentions William Harvey an Engraver apprentice of Bewick but who went off to Birmingham ...and I wondered if that was the William Harvey relative of Samuel Harvey SH of Swordmaking fame ....?? The plot thickens...I placed the William Harvey letterhead earlier in this thread and that proves he was a sword maker etc etc..SEE post 53.

Peter Hudson.

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Old 17th April 2024, 12:41 AM   #322
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Please see post 53 To this and the information in post 321 above...some clarity...On W. HARVEY HIGH ST. DERITEND, BIRMINGHAM, SWORDMAKER;
and the Conundrum of W.HARVEY who appears there as a swordmaker and with the co incidental same name of an engraver who worked under Bewick etc etc ...
At last I have a clearer idea who this Sword Maker was and it can be seen at https://www.antique-swords.com/v09-1...er-harvey.html what sort of swords he made In a parallel search I also realised that the W Harvey mentioned by Thomas Bewick and who was one of his apprentice engravers is not the same W Harvey... which tidies up that somewhat. Peter Hudson.


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Old 17th April 2024, 03:49 PM   #323
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Ref #310.
Can I clarify something please. Is that third from left an earlier hilt with a later SB blade? The style appears to be mid C17th so-called Hounslow hanger but the discussion indicates its an SB blade?

Thanks.
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Old 24th April 2024, 10:39 AM   #324
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Default miss-match

Hello. Yes, it is indeed an old hilt on a new blade, a common occurrence and very confusing at times.
This group of swords were collected by Lord Gort - younger brother of Viscount Gort of famous military history - who lived close by Shotley Bridge in Hamsterly Hall.
I'll pause here because I want to locate some images to post.
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Old 24th April 2024, 10:50 AM   #325
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Here are additional images from the Royal Armouries in Leeds showing a Mortuary hilt on one of those first batch of Solingen made blades with a Shotley Bridge script.
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Old 24th April 2024, 11:06 AM   #326
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Default Additional data

Those blades (and there were not a lot of them) were brought by Harmon Mohll at the time of the arrival of the Solingen diaspora in 1687.
They were destined for Jacobite upper classes around northern England.
The 'horseman's' sword was the most common and I have seen a dozen of them (there were more with blades made 'in' SB) during my research.
What has come to light just recently is this:
a couple of years ago I bought a sword casket at auction that had originally come from Wentworth-Woodhouse (the sword - a horseman's sword - is on display in Bamborough Castle). It had a bronze plaque that states Shotley Bridge circa.1680.
The big surprise came when Paul Heatherington (one of my collaborators and a SB resident) finally persuaded a friend of his to sell him his horseman's sword and it came with an exact same casket with an exact same plaque.
This needs thinking about.
BTW
The caskets are superb mahogany and expertly crafted: see images.
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Old 25th April 2024, 01:54 PM   #327
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Thankyou.
Wonder if that mortuary style hilt has been re-bladed or they were still in vogue in the 1680s. I thought that in Britain they'd faded out in the 1660s, though were still in use in the area of Germany until the 1680s.
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Old 25th April 2024, 04:12 PM   #328
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Default Mortuary hilts

I have no idea when the Mortuary style hilt fell out of fashion.
I have been informed, and I raised this issue on the forum but no-one responded, that Mortuary hilts were made on the Hebridean island of Islay where there had been a blacksmiths armoury for generations. Many Scottish clans were armed by this blacksmiths.
Maybe someone was keen to have this style of hilt and acquired a new one but it is far more likely that it was a family heirloom needing a new blade.
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Old 26th April 2024, 05:32 PM   #329
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Well noted Keith! and the idea of 'slippers' mounting hilts on Islay is pretty exciting! I have wondered where to discover more on this as I have a keen interest in the Isles. As we know, the 'mortuary' (a Victorian collectors 'catch' term) was actually a hilt style in use early in the 17th, before the death of Charles I, whose likeness on many of these was proposed as the source of that term.

In most cases, popular hilt styles did not suddenly 'go out of fashion' as suggested in some literature. With tradition, styles and fashion tended to predominate in 'periods' (another vague historical delineation) and often continued in favor contemporary to other forms supplanting the forms.

The case you note of old hilts being mounted with more modern blades was actually common, as well as vice versa, heirloom blades in newer hilts.
While fashion of course prevails popularly, tradition is much stronger and much part of the ethos and honor held by the arme blanche.
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Old 26th April 2024, 06:48 PM   #330
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Default Sword casket

It was battering my brain working out why, and who, and where, so I want to present some facts regarding the provenance of these two identical caskets.
Obviously made some considerable time after the Germans brought those blades into Shotley Bridge in 1687 as they have estimated the date as: circa.1680.
My casket was made for Thomas Wentworth, 1st Marquess of Rockingham (b.1693) South Yorkshire, who's father had apparently inherited the sword (s) from his uncle, 2nd Earl of Stafford, who had been a close friend and supporter of King James II.
The only conclusion I can achieve is that both swords eventually belonged to the above Thomas Wentworth and/or his family.
It remains puzzling why one sword and casket should end up back in Shotley Bridge, and the other remain in the Wentworth-Woodhouse mansion until the mid.1960s when the sword was given to the Royal Armouries in nearby Leeds and the casket sold in an estate sale but remaining locally until I bought it recently.
The reason I have devoted this effort in sourcing the history is because it indicates distinctly how so much reverence was attached to these swords that expensive caskets were commissioned many years later to put them on display in the mansion house.
Of course, the swords may have remained in hiding long after the above and until any suspicion of Jacobite affiliations in the family had long been forgotten!

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