Object Title

Sword

Sword

Date

about 1828-1830

Object Number

IX.3632

Provenance

First registered on return from loan to 16th Air Defence Regt (Loan L188), 22 June 1991.

Physical Description

Variations, losses, damage, etc:
Backpiece has a U-shaped step; top of pommel has a raised oval area around the tang-button (variation from standard pattern). Grip apparently slightly shorter than standard.
A small gap has opened at the junction of the backpiece and the ferrule.
Blade has vice marks near hilt, nicks to forward edge, increasing in frequency towards the tip, and extensive rust staining. Blade tip slightly bent.

Dimensions

Dimensions: Overall length: 1044 mm (41.1 in), blade length: 907 mm (35.6 / 36 5/8 in), blade width (at hilt): 32 mm (1.25 / 1 1/4 in) Weight: 1 kg 35 gm (2 lb 5 oz)

Inscriptions and Marks

On guard, on knuckle-guard, engraved: 'C.2.75'.On guard, near rear quillon, on side towards blade, stamped: 'WOOLLEY / SARGANT / & FAIRFAX'.On guard, near root of inner scroll guard, on side towards blade, stamped: '7 5 C C'.On outside of blade, near the hilt and forward edge, stamped: crown over '8'.On back edge of blade close to hilt, stamped: 'WOOLLEY / SARGANT / & FAIRF[AX]'.On back edge of blade, about 150 mm (6 in.) from hilt, an indecipherable character, like a letter B with wings (probably an ordinary letter B - one occurs in this position on the very similar sword, IX.349.

Associations

Bibliographic References

P. Lankester and G. Rimer, ' A 19th-century chest of arms', Royal Armouries Yearbook, III, 1998, pp. 77-108, at pp. 86 (as example of weapon marked Woolley, Sargant and Fairfax), 101 (brief catalogue entry).

Notes

For the Board of Ordnance pattern 1821/22 generally, see B. Robson, 'Swords of the British Army...', rev'd edn, London, 1996, pp. 24, 25 (pl. 20), 26 (also [1st edn], London, 1975, pp. 26, 28 (Pl.23), 29, 30) where it is stated that production did not begin until March 1823.
The history of the various Birmingham firms in which the Woolley family were prime movers is very complicated. For references and the dates of Woolley, Sargant and Fairfax, and for other weapons bearing the same name, see under IX.5413.
This sword, with the variations from standard noted above, is very similar to IX.349 which is marked W.L. & H SARGANT'. IX.349 has East India Company markings so the present sword may also be an EIC sword. The following information is drawn from a letter from David Harding of 30 Sept. 1999 - copy on in. file). The inspection mark of a crown over 8 is compatable with an EIC sword. The EIC used a crown over numeral until 1837 and the 8 would narrow it down to pre-1831, when the inspectors were reduced to just fout men (see D. Harding, 'Smallarms of the East India Company 1600-1856', 4 vols, London, Foresight Books, 1997-1999, I, pp. 279-82, 335). Woolley, Sargent and Fairfax were being paid for supplying swords to the EIC in 1828-35 (see letter from DH of 28 May 1999), so that would give a date bracket of 1828-31. The unit issue markings are not quite right for the EIC, though 2.C.75 would be, meaning the 2nd Regiment [of native Light cavalry, Presidency not stated, which is normal], C troop, man no. 75.