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Old Tower collection, probably Tower arsenal. First registered when on loan to the Department of the Environment (later English Heritage) at St Mawes Castle (Loans L144) in about 1979.

Physical Description

General Type Description: Steel knuckle-guard, spreading to form a slotted guard around the blade, and with two loop-guards to the outside of the hand. Writhen, wooden grip, sometimes covered with fish-skin, or with leather and bound with coarse wire twist. Oval or egg-shaped pommel on a stand. Straight, single-edged blade, tapering to a double-edged spear-point, with a broad, central fuller, and a narrow fuller towards the back.

Variations, losses, damage etc: grip covered with leather.


Dimensions: Overall length: 1063 mm (41.8 in), blade length: 908 mm (35 3/4 in) Weight: 2 lb 5 oz


Places Britain

Bibliographic References

B. Robson, Swords of the British Army..., revised [2nd] edn, London, 1996, pp. 14, 15 (Pl. 13 - det. of hilt).


Well over 200 swords of this 'pattern' exist in the Royal Armouries and for internal Royal Armouries purposes these have been designated Cavalry Type U (search in STAR on 'type adj U'). For a summary of the holdings see letter from Bridget Clifford. 'Antique Arms and Militaria', Oct., 1984, p. 4, in reply to an enquiry from John D. Morgan, 'ibid.', Sept. 1984). At the time of writing (Nov. 1999) good photographs of Type U. exist of the present sword and of IX.1849.
Robson (1996, see above) considered this type (U) as an alternative identification for the British Heavy Cavalry pattern 1788, but, on balance, rejected this view in favour of the pattern he had identified in his first edition of 1975. For further consideration of this question (but with the same conclusion) see Richard Deller, 'A great diversity: The British 1788 Pattern heavy Cavalry sword', 'Classic Arms and Militaria', 13.1 (January 2006), pp. 16-20.
There are many minor variations of this 'pattern' of sword, for a summary of which, see LUI, p.17/5 - 18/11. Some examples in the Royal Armouries lack the bars outside the hand; for internal purposes these have been designated Cavalry Type L. Some at least and possibly all of these are type Us which have had the bars outside the hand removed.