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Basket Hilted Sword of “Irish” type dating to the early 17th Century

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Price: £1950

Ref: 052.17

Item Description

A functional and robust English basket hilted sword dating to circa 1620 mounted with a broad and imposing double-edged blade. From circa 1600 on wards English sources refer to this hilt type as “Irische” (Irish). From the English perspective the term relates to the Gaelic speaking region which includes both Ireland and Scotland. English armourers copied and further developed the style into this hilt type from Scottish basket hilted forms which appeared from the late 16th century.

The basket guard is in original solid condition and formed from flattened bars of “ribbon” type. The design consists of a knuckle bow which extends from the cross guard front and is secured to the front of the pommel with a large pierced headed screw. The side guards rise from the cross guard to touch the pommel sides. Below, the frontal loop guard bars are a downward continuation of the side guard bars which loop forward to join the base of the knuckle bow at the front quillon terminal.

To the front, in the spaces between the knuckle bow and side guard bars, two saltire bars are attached with small rounded guard plates in the middle. To the rear, two secondary guard bars curve upwards from the rear quillon to attach to the side guard bars near the pommel. Between these at the base, merlons have been attached to strengthen the structure. The main guard bars are filed with knops towards the middles. The large globular pommel has an integral raised cylindrical button filed with a waist around its middle. The replaced cylindrical grip is formed of attractively patinated and spirally grooved hardwood.

The lenticular section blade is just under 32.25 inches long (82 cm). It has a broad shallow central fuller extending for 7 inches (18 cm) from just below the hilt. The blade gently tapers and has a bladesmith’s mark incised either side just beyond the fuller terminal of “Running Wolf” type (probably a Solingen mark). The blade tip is of rounded form giving the sword an effective backstroke slashing capability to complement the frontal cutting edge of the blade. The overall length of the sword is 38.25 inches (97 cm).

For further examples of the “Irische” hilt sword type see “British Military swords 1600 to 1660”, Stuart C Mowbray, Mowbray Publishers, 2013, pages 110 to 126.

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