Questions about the Scottish Basket Hilted Sword

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Questions about the Scottish Basket Hilted Sword

Postby Brian Wolfe » Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:29 pm

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Questions about the Scottish Basket Hilted Sword

I tend to have a need to know about all aspects of the swords I collect and therefore do a lot of reading about the swords, their manufacture, testing and use. There are a couple of points about the Pattern 1828 Highland Officer’s Sword that I would like to discuss with the members.

The first is the seeming lack of a place to connect a sword knot or wrist strap on the sword guard. The hand guard quillion, sometimes referred to as the wrist guard, has a cylindrical cross bar attached and I was thinking that perhaps this was intended for the attachment of a wrist strap. The quillion for the attachment and the cross bar to secure the strap. There seems to be little written about wrist straps in connection with the Highland Officer’s Broad Sword. Mr. Brian Robson, in his revised edition, page 174, states, “...some regiments wore sword knots with these swords in the early part of the nineteenth century.” In the section of his book under Sword Knots, page 271, he says, “... no sword can be properly regarded as complete without its appropriate knot.” The only other mention of a sword knot is on page 273, under Heavy Cavalry 1898-1914 in use by the Royal Scots Greys, which of course is not an infantry regiment.

The other question I have is in regard to the forward quillion. Coincidently, today while I was writing this post I watched an interesting lecture by our fellow member Mr. Matt Easton on his You Tube channel regarding the basket hilted sword. He has some excellent points and I suggest you check them out; trapping an opponents’ sword and as a shock absorber protecting the basket from sword damage to list a few. Another You Tube favourite of mine is a gentleman going by the name “Lindybeige” who suggests a use of the forward quillion as a means of levering a targe (shield) away from you so that the opponent is exposed to your sword cut. If you are interested search the internet under “Lindybeige broadsword and targe”; it’s quite interesting. When I look at this forward quillion the first thing that comes to mind is that if one were in a very close quarter melee where the use of the blade was greatly restricted wouldn’t this work well as a striking device? Perhaps this idea is a product of an ill spent youth, but it would make sense to me, it looks like an excellent knuckle duster. I do look forward to reading your thoughts and comments.

Regards
Brian
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Re: Questions about the Scottish Basket Hilted Sword

Postby Bryce » Mon Nov 19, 2018 3:22 am

G'day Brian,
I know very little about basket hilts, but I think sword knots aren't very common on these swords. Most portraits of Scottish officers wearing basket hilts don't seem to show any sword knots. Maybe the red tassel served in place of a sword knot in terms of "dressing up" a basket hilt? I did come across a mid 18th century print of the Earl of Loudon with a basket hilt complete with sword knot. Difficult to see exactly how it was attached though.


Cheers,

Bryce
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Re: Questions about the Scottish Basket Hilted Sword

Postby Brian Wolfe » Tue Nov 20, 2018 6:01 pm

Thank you Bryce, this is the first such picture I have seen. Even the modern drawings in books such as the Osprey series show no sword knots on the Scottish basket hilted swords.
Regards
Brian
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Re: Questions about the Scottish Basket Hilted Sword

Postby Will Mathieson » Tue Nov 20, 2018 8:27 pm

I have read in books containing original excerpts from the Crimea War that Scottish soldiers with basket hilted swords used them to punch their opponents having problems with the blades not penetrating heavy Russian overcoats. Hands did swell up so much that it was difficult to release the sword.
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