Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

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Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Richard » Fri May 10, 2013 1:22 pm

This is the sword of Lt Col James Macaul Hagart who served with the 7th (Queen's Own) Hussars from May 1837 to November 1858. The sword was purchased by Hagart from Wilkinson on 14 August 1857, the same day he was promoted from Major to Lt. Col. It has Wilkinson's Patent Solid Hilt and (what I think is) a 'Toledo' blade numbered 8417. The hilt is a special regimental pattern with central device of a crown above 'QO VII Hussars'. The hilt also has Hagart's engraved initials J M H. As you can see, the hilt has suffered extensive damage along its right (inner) side.

The following is from Barrett's The 7th (Queen's Own) Hussars concerning the action at Musa Bagh on 19th March 1858 during the siege of Lucknow (Indian Mutiny)

‘Under the command of Colonel James Hagart of the 7th troop of the regiment [7th Hussars], 2 guns and a few men of the 78th were sent to dislodge them [the rebels]. The guns were brought up and opened fire. Two shells had exploded in the fort when out dashed about 50 of the enemy and made straight for the guns. Three officers of the troop were wounded – Slade, Wilkin and Bankes, the latter mortally.

Colonel Hagart’s gallant effort to save Bankes, who was being hacked at by the rebels as he lay disabled on the ground, so far succeeded in that officer was rescued, though only to die of his wounds a few days later. Colonel Hagart’s condition after the melee is thus related by Sir Hope Grant (General Sir James Hope Grant GCB, 1808-1875):

“Everything about him bore traces of his gallant struggle. His saddle and his horse were slashed about both in front and behind, his martingale divided, his sword-hilt dented in, the pocket-handkerchief severed as cleanly as with a razor, and a piece of the skin on his right hand cut away.”

Sir Hope Grant recommended Colonel Hagart for the Victoria Cross but Sir Colin Campbell (1792 – 1863, Commander-in-Chief British forces in India) declined to forward the application on the ground that his rank was too high.’

The photo of Hagart 'in Mutiny kit' is also from Barrett.

I know I'm supposed to be a collector of Georgian swords but honestly I don't think I've ever held a more stunning piece of history in my hand.

Richard

PS, in 33 years of collecting, this is my first ever numbered Wilkinson sword
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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Matt Easton » Fri May 10, 2013 2:14 pm

Wow, simply wow! I saw this come up in auction and not knowing the provenance and not seeing all the photos, stupidly decided not to go for it. You can count me as extremely jealous! If you ever want to sell it please think of me! :D

The damage to the inner guard - it looks like it has been deliberately cut away, to make it more comfortable to wear?

The curved Toledo style blade is rare - I only know of one other curved one.

Note though that in the photo of him in his extensive pugaree he is wearing a tulwar!

Many thanks for posting this, Richard.
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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Jonathan » Fri May 10, 2013 4:37 pm

Stunning sword and history, Richard!

Richard wrote:I know I'm supposed to be a collector of Georgian swords but honestly I don't think I've ever held a more stunning piece of history in my hand.


Yes, please get back to Georgian swords and ignore the later ones! :)
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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby sword335 » Fri May 10, 2013 5:44 pm

Yes, please get back to Georgian swords and ignore the later ones! :)[/quote]

Here, here !! :D
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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Will Mathieson » Fri May 10, 2013 9:58 pm

Congratulations, you have started at the top collecting Victorian swords, a rare pattern, though its owners history is first rate.
Is Hagart wearing a Tulwar in the photo, has a large round pommel?
I'm sure at his higher rank more photos exist with him wearing the sword you now have.
It does appear that he used it as his fighting sword with the inner guard cut away for comfort.
The sword is a thruster but must have some sharpness also?

Can you add this sword to your book or is it too late?
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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Richard » Sat May 11, 2013 6:11 am

I think we'll say this is just a rare foray into Vic swords - actually I don't have any hard and fast rules about collecting, I just buy what I like and if it has a history attached, then generally I like it.

Re the guard, the line of the inner edge is uneven, it has definitely been broken and then smoothed over, doesn't have the evenness of a deliberate removal. Apparently he killed four rebels in the action described above.

And its a last-minute entry into the book - only just made it.

Richard
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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Swordmaker » Sat May 11, 2013 7:24 am

here is a scan from an Old Wilkinson notebook which may describe this sword hilt. I can't think of any other hilt the description fits
Robert

7th Hussars.jpg
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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Matt Easton » Sat May 11, 2013 8:03 am

Will Mathieson wrote:The sword is a thruster but must have some sharpness also?


Hi Will, given that the Toledo type is usually straight, but he made the special request to have this sword curved, I would say that he definitely wanted a sword that could effectively cut and thrust. Much like the other curved Toledo type I found and which Gordon now owns (which I must say feels like a great big chopper, not very thrusty at all!).

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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Matt Easton » Sat May 11, 2013 8:05 am

Incidentally, there is a similar hilt on a 6th Dragoon Guards sword dated to 1883 currently for sale.
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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Richard » Mon May 13, 2013 6:29 pm

Swordmaker wrote:here is a scan from an Old Wilkinson notebook which may describe this sword hilt. I can't think of any other hilt the description fits
Robert

7th Hussars.jpg


Thank you Robert. But what are 'water holes'? (apart from a place that lions drink that is)

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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Jonathan » Mon May 13, 2013 7:32 pm

Richard,
Hagart is mentioned in despatches along with one of "my" officers, [url=http://victorianwars.com/viewtopic.php?f=52&t=1976Richard Topham[/url]:

Gazette Issue 22143 published on the 25 May 1858 wrote: Image


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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Richard » Tue May 14, 2013 6:42 am

Thank you Jonathan. Interesting that Topham had the 'scroll-hilt' pattern. Cornet Bankes who is also mentioned (and who was rescued by Hagart) received the Victoria Cross (posthumously) for that action.
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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Swordmaker » Tue May 14, 2013 7:03 am

Richard wrote:
Swordmaker wrote:here is a scan from an Old Wilkinson notebook which may describe this sword hilt. I can't think of any other hilt the description fits
Robert

7th Hussars.jpg


Thank you Robert. But what are 'water holes'? (apart from a place that lions drink that is)

Richard

'Water Holes' was a Wilkinson term for perforations in this style of guard in the 'dished' area where the grip and back piece meets the inside of the guard.
Apologies for not explaining this before!
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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Richard » Tue May 14, 2013 6:30 pm

Robert

I suppose water holes must therefore be for a solid bowl guard rather than a perforated one? i.e. they're exactly what they imply - drainage holes. Given that there are no water holes or special thumb piece on Hagart's sword, I am thinking that the hand-written note cannot refer to Hagart's sword.

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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Richard » Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:12 pm

I see another of these 7th Hussars' swords has turned up on M D Long's site

http://www.michaeldlong.com/Catalogue/S ... inson.aspx
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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Gordons Horse » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:28 am

Richard wrote:Robert

I suppose water holes must therefore be for a solid bowl guard rather than a perforated one? i.e. they're exactly what they imply - drainage holes. Given that there are no water holes or special thumb piece on Hagart's sword, I am thinking that the hand-written note cannot refer to Hagart's sword.

Richard


Hi Richard,

The subject of these "two water hole"s has troubled me for some time, and owing to the number of piercings in guard of the type on Hagart's sword, I can't really understand how anyone in there right mind could describe such a guard as having two holes.

The card in the Wilkinson records notes two features, one being the two holes and the other being the special thumb piece; I think it's quite likely that this specification from the Wilkinson records refers to one particular hilt that was made to order for an officer of the 7th Hussars, and that the guard of this sword had two additional holes in the solid part of the guard, quite close to the ferrule, which would let water drain out of the bowl (and away from the special thumb piece if the sword was carried in a position such as strapped to the saddle. Just a few thoughts.

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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Gordons Horse » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:29 am

Richard wrote:I see another of these 7th Hussars' swords has turned up on M D Long's site

http://www.michaeldlong.com/Catalogue/S ... inson.aspx


Richard,

Another example with a curved Toledo blade similar to yours (but not solid hilt) sold about five weeks ago.

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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Matt Easton » Sat Aug 31, 2013 6:35 pm

By coincidence Richard, I own Wilkinson no.8418, the very next sword in the record. It is a regulation infantry officer's sword, but see the record entry below, where they wrote 'curved Toledo' and then crossed it out :)
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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Richard » Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:13 am

That's interesting Matt. Here's the entry for 8417
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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Matt Easton » Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:07 am

Interesting that in some ways the incorrect entry on my page gives more information about your sword - that they listed 'Patent Tang Curved Toledo' on mine, but not on yours. :)

Another sword I recently acquired again shows that the Wilkinson clerk got it wrong sometimes, as the number on the blade does not match the entry in the book, but DOES match the next number in the book exactly (and must be the same sword, as it has a specific non-regulation hilt and blade).

Regards,
Matt
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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby JordanPL » Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:04 pm

I have been lucky enough to acquire this very sword, owned by Lt. Col. James McCaul Hagart, and it is truly a magnificent piece.

I am 'over the moon' :D

P.S. For my own interest, are there any other known marked 7th Hussar Regimental hilts, besides the much later ones discussed on this and the 'other' forum?
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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Will Mathieson » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:15 pm

Great acquisition Jordan, can you post a photo of your display? Here is a 1855 Toledo proof page for a Coldstream guards sword incorrectly notated as SF Gd's.
It seems each Toledo blade of Wilkinsons are individual and not identical.

Does the Royal Armouries have a copy of the Wilkinson blade proof pages? It would be beneficial to look through them and find the officers names and types of blades produced.
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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby Bryce » Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:41 pm

G'day Jordan,

They don't get any better than this.

Cheers,
Bryce
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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby JordanPL » Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:13 am

Will Mathieson wrote:Great acquisition Jordan, can you post a photo of your display? Here is a 1855 Toledo proof page for a Coldstream guards sword incorrectly notated as SF Gd's.
It seems each Toledo blade of Wilkinsons are individual and not identical.

Does the Royal Armouries have a copy of the Wilkinson blade proof pages? It would be beneficial to look through them and find the officers names and types of blades produced.


I don't have the sword displayed yet Will, but when I do I will send photos. My display is quite simple really...I lay the really important swords in my 'campaign' room...and the rest on the walls scattered around the house :)
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Re: Sword of Lt Col Hagart, 7th Hussars

Postby JordanPL » Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:13 am

Bryce wrote:G'day Jordan,

They don't get any better than this.

Cheers,
Bryce


Thanks Bryce...still can't quite believe it!
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