Object Title

Cross-Guard

Cross-Guard

Date

1900-1930

Object Number

IX.1303 A

Provenance

Originally registered in the Imperial War Museum in DATE, red reg. no. 15717 ('cross guard, sealed pattern?') having been acquied from the Wilkinson Sword Co. It presumably came to the Tower in about 1938 when Charles ffoulkes set up his study collection.

Physical Description

Flat, nickel-plated steel cross-guard, of elongated diamond shape and centrally pierced by a rectangular hole. The finials are roughly spherical with a stand shaped like a reel.

Dimensions

Dimensions: Length: 168 mm (6.65 in.), Width (max.): 2.8 mm (1.12 in.), Thickness: 5.4 mm (0.21 in.) Weight: 120 g. (4.2 oz.)

Associations

Places Britain

Bibliographic References

B. Robson, Swords of the British Army..., 1st edn, London, 1975, p. 130, Pl. 144 (top) - photo printed in reverse.

Notes

For the use and introduction of these cross-guards generally, see B. Robson, 'Swords of the British Army...', [1st edn], London 1975, pp. 128-32; and 'Swords of the British Army...', rev'd edn, London 1996, pp. 183-5. These cross-guards were used as an alternative to (and were latterly interchangeable with) the basket hilt on the braodsword, originally carried by officers of most Highland regiments only. It was adopted also by most Lowland regiments when they adopted Highland dress in 1881 and they continued to use it until about 1914. Although these hilts appear officially in the Dress Regulations for the first time in 1883, there is evidence to suggest they were probably in use by the 71st Regiment as early as the late 1850s. 'In the 1870s and 1880s there was a wide variety of patterns in use but by 1914 the patterns had been reduced, officially at least, to six, covering all regiments' (Robson 1996: 183; illus. Robson 1975, p. 131, fig. 6).
This particular pattern of cross-guard was associated with the Seaforth Highlanders and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders though the second battalion of the latter regiment discontinued their use after 1918 (Robson 1996: 184-5, Pl. 176). According to the typed inventory entry (IBE) the pattern was also used by the Cameron Highlanders.
The red Imperial War Museum registration has been cleaned off but its shadow is visible.