Object Title

Sword (A) and scabbard (B)

Sword (A) and scabbard (B)

Date

1850-1900

Object Number

IX.3509 A-B

Provenance

Part of a collection of nineteen items given by Mrs Gwen Creek, 50, Wetheral Drive, Stanmore, Middlesex, HA7 2HL, in memory of her husband, Mr John Creek, 07/02/1989. Mr Creek, who died shortly before, was a distinguished fencer, and President of the Epee Club.

Physical Description

(a) Gilt brass hilt. Flat-topped, oval pommel extending to form a very short back-piece, the latter decorated with cast and chased oak leaves. On top of pommel, cast and chiselled crest within a raised, foliate border: out of a naval coronet [or], a demi pegasus [argent], for Jervis (see Notes). Asymmetrical shell-guard; the wider outer half decorated with oak leaves and acorns incorporating a short blank scroll, and the background pierced through. Short rear quillon curved towards the blade, the terminal in the form of a dolphin's head. The shell-guard continues on the forward side to form a knuckle-guard in the form of a dolphin, the head towards the pommel. Off-white shagreen covered grip spirally bound wth a medium cable twist gilt wire flanked by two fine single twists in the opposite sense.


Straight, single-edged blade with 25.4 mm (1 in) ricasso and a double-edged spear point, relief-etched on both sides for about two thirds of its length with foliage scrolls, and, on the inside, a foul- anchor and a rope entwined with an oak branch, and, on the outside, a foul-anchor encircled with a naval crown, the initials 'J J' entwined with a rope, and a naval mast with a flag flying from its top and with two axes, a linstock, and a halberd set amongst its two furled sails.


(b) Black leather, wood-lined scabbard, stitched down the centre of the inside, and lacking its chape and mid-locket. Gilt brass top-locket, attached by a single screw at the lower end of the forward edge, with a loose ring mounted through a knotted rope cast in relief around its mid-point, which is flanked by two bands of engraved and chased oak foliage. On the inside, near the mouth, is a relief cast shield with the arms, [sable] a chevron [ermine] between three martlets [or] for Jervis (see Notes).


Condition on cataloguing: gilding locally worn, more extensively so on top of pommel; rust pitting to tip of blade and small local patches elsewhere; extensive scuffing to surface of scabbard leather.

Dimensions

Dimensions: Sword: overall length, approx: 875 mm (34.5 in), blade length: 739 mm (29.1 in), blade width: 25 mm (1.0 in), Scabbard: overall length (present): 722 mm (28.4 in)

Inscriptions and Marks

On the outside of the ricasso: a gilt, inset, circular 'proof-mark' (defaced and illegible), set in the centre of a relief-etched six-pointed star.

Associations

Notes

This design of this sword is apparently the United States (of America) Navy, Officer's, pattern 1852 (see W.E. May and P.G.W. Annis, 'Swords for Sea Service', London, 1970, Vol. I, p.190f. & Vol.II, Pl.132). The knotted rope supporting the loose ring on the scabbard (not described by May and Annis) is often found on American swords. However, the hilt lacks the letters U.S.N. on the short inscription scroll on the hilt, the surface of which appears to have been left rough from the casting, and the arms and crest, respectively on the scabbard and pommel, appear to be those of Jarvis or Jarvis-Ricketts (variously spelt), which was the family name of the famous British naval commander, John Jervis, Earl St Vincent (see J.W. Papworth, 'Ordinary of British Armorials', 1874, p.399; Burke, B., 'General Armory', 1884, p.541f; (anon.) 'The Royal Book of Crests', Vol.I, pp.218, 351, Vol.II, Pl.71, no.2). On the Earl's death in 1823, the Earldom became extinct, but by special remainder, the Viscountcy of St Vincent of Meaford (confered on him in 1801) descended to his nephew, Edward Ricketts (afterwards Jervis). The Viscountcy continued to descend until at least 1908, but none of the recorded holders down to this date have names which would fit the initials J.J. on the blade of the sword (see G.E. C.[okayne], 'Complete Peerage', Vol.XI, pp.369-73). The date of the Earl's death is too early for the American Naval Officer's pattern, described above, and the precise origins of this sword are presently a mystery.