Obscure terms used in the Wilkinson Proof Records 1854-78

John Sheard
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Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:39 pm

Obscure terms used in the Wilkinson Proof Records 1854-78

Post by John Sheard » Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:42 pm

Could anyone shed some light on the following terms encountered during searches of swords using steel scroll hilts:

Russian Pattern - appears to refer to the blade
French Pattern back
Morris Pattern - might refer to the blade
'no fall down' and 'with fall down' - appears to refer to the blade
'light forward' - appears to refer to the blade or grip
'extra finger bar' - refers to the steel scroll hilt!

Will
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Re: Obscure terms used in the Wilkinson Proof Records 1854-78

Post by Will » Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:35 am

One LC sword with 4 bar hilt I have is described as " slightly curved, Russian pattern, spear point" The blade having a narrow fuller nearer the blade spine.

MikeShowers
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Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:12 pm

Re: Obscure terms used in the Wilkinson Proof Records 1854-78

Post by MikeShowers » Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:57 am

I'll try a few of the easy ones. I believe the "French Pattern" refers to the style of hilt/grip that has no backstrap. Just a pommel cap, like the 1832 pattern Lifeguards sword. The fall down is probably referring to the hinged section of the hilt, like on the infantry and naval officers swords.

John Sheard
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Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:39 pm

Re: Obscure terms used in the Wilkinson Proof Records 1854-78

Post by John Sheard » Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:30 pm

Thanks Will and Mike. Here's another one:
"Wilkinson Sword No. 14026 Mahratta Pattern; steel scroll cavalry; Indian scabbard. Sold to Prendergast 02/09/1865".
Mahratta seems to refer to British Indian Army infantry regiments of the same name. I believe Indian scabbard refers to a steel scabbard covered in leather. I've also spotted 'Prince Alfred's Pattern' !!
Probably 'Morris Pattern' similarly refers to a non regulation Special Pattern (hilt, blade or both) specified and ordered by an unknown officer by the same name, which was then adopted by fellow officers.

Gordon K. Byrne
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Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:49 pm

Re: Obscure terms used in the Wilkinson Proof Records 1854-78

Post by Gordon K. Byrne » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:53 am

Hi John,
Last but not least I trust. The term Russian Pattern does in fact refer to the blade pattern, and from my own observations they are as described by Will; further to that they can vary in curvature from the slightly curved configuration to those having a considerable curve by comparison; width can also vary.

Yes French Pattern back as described above has a pommel only, but not a full back-piece.

Once again as described above, I have always considered that "fall down" referred to the folding inner section of the hilt (thumb guard).

Morris Pattern remains ?

In terms of "light forward", I've noticed that some slightly curved cut & thrust blades have greater taper and a more acute point; which in my view would make them light forward, hence the term.

As for extra finger bar, all I can suggest is that it might refer to part hook in the inside of the guard through which your finger could be placed to stop your hand slipping back on the grip.

In terms of "Indian Pattern Scabbard", I can say that an actual (surviving) scabbard so described in the Wilkinson records, was made of wood, leather covered and with four steel mounts; these being a locket, two bands with loose rings for slings and a small chape with no shoe. This particular scabbard was in fact made for a sword with a Russian Pattern blade. I'm also aware of a number of other so-called Indian Pattern scabbards, which would conform to this sort of wooden, leather covered steel mounted construction.

There was odd pattern I came across, but I haven't found my reference as yet and I can't remember if it was PA or not.

Will
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Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:27 pm

Re: Obscure terms used in the Wilkinson Proof Records 1854-78

Post by Will » Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:30 pm

The Russian pattern sword I have is a 4 bar hilt and the scabbard is all leather except for the metal drag/shoe.
I was in touch with the family and they graciously sent me digital copies of H.C. Onslows EIC commission and other paperwork and photos.
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John Sheard
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Re: Obscure terms used in the Wilkinson Proof Records 1854-78

Post by John Sheard » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:21 pm

This might help with respect to PA pattern:

14415 to 14433 (19 swords); 24/05/1866; 34 1/2 x 1 5/8 ins; PA pattern; Privates 3 barred Lt Cav
All to Harper esq. (I assume ‘Privates’ refers to troopers). Batches of ‘Privates’ swords were also sold to the Hong Kong Police and to South Austrailia.

14611 to 14623 (13 swords); 04/10/1866; 36 1/2 x 1 1/4 ins; PA pattern extra curved; Steel scroll;
Hodson’s Horse (9th Bengal Lancers); sold to Major Pallisen

14624; 11/10/1866; 35 1/2 x 1 1/4 ins; extra curved; Major Pallisen pattern; steel scroll cavalry;
Sold to Capt. Creig

15620; 21/02/1868; 34 1/2 x 1 1/8 ins; PA pattern extra curved; steel scroll hilt; Indian scabbard steel top locket and steel chape; sold to Smith the Elder

Could PA be short for Pallisen pattern?

I have a steel scroll hilt with steel scabbard covered in leather (tested with magnet). The proof record makes no mention of the scabbard type and I now suspect the cover was added later whilst on active service in South Africa. Certainly, when ‘Indian scabbard’ is referred to in the proof records it usually mentions ‘wood’.
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Gordon K. Byrne
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Re: Obscure terms used in the Wilkinson Proof Records 1854-78

Post by Gordon K. Byrne » Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:35 am

Hi John,

I believe the name is Palliser, not Pallisen; Major Charles Henry Palliser was Commandant of the 1th Bengal Cavalry, formerly the 2nd Regiment of Hodson's Horse.

The thirteen swords he ordered most likely for the Indian officers, made with a blade curve more to their liking with a hilt type already in use.

Gordon K. Byrne
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Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:49 pm

Re: Obscure terms used in the Wilkinson Proof Records 1854-78

Post by Gordon K. Byrne » Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:11 am

Hi John,

Just a thought and question; is it definitely "Smith the Elder", or could it be referring to Smith and Elder as India Agents?

John Sheard
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Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:39 pm

Re: Obscure terms used in the Wilkinson Proof Records 1854-78

Post by John Sheard » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:11 pm

Hi Gordon,

Many thanks. Yes, Pallisen will be correct. The entry in the proof record was not clear with respect to the last letter of the surname.

I wasn't aware of Smith and Elder but that would fit perfectly. Again, as usual, the entries are far from clear and Smith the Elder was the nearest I could get (Scottish cutlers but the dates don't fit).

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