Object Title

Sword

Sword

Date

1790-1800

Object Number

IX.1282

Provenance

From store 1972. Presumably Tower Arsenal?

Physical Description

Steel stirrup hilt with pierced disc guard, flanged at the edge, and reinforced in the centre with a diamond shaped plate, projecting to form a small terminal. Through the guard project two langets overlapping the grip, which is of wood bound with string, covered with black leather and seperated from the guard by a plain ferrule. The backpiece is in one with the cap pommel and has two semi-circular extensions to enable it to be rivetted through the grip and tang. Near one of these are what appear to be the remains of a red wax seal, though very fragmentary and no part of the seal impression survives.


The blade is straight, terminating in a hatchet point, with a broad fuller on both sides to within 4 inches of the point.

Dimensions

OverallLength1041mm

Associations

Places Britain

Bibliographic References

B. Robson, Swords of the British Army..., revised [2nd] edn, London, 1996, pp. 22, 24 (note 24), 20, Pl. 18 (det. hilt and base of blade).

examples).

Notes

This sword appears to be a 1796 Heavy Cavalry trooper's pattern but differs in several respects from the standard form (see, for example, IX.250). The langets projecting over the grip are only found in one other example in the Royal Armouries (IX.968); the diamond shaped reinforce is normally larger, and has visible rivets and includes a terminal of simpler form also with an obvious rivet; the edges of the guard are generally crudely bent up, whereas this hilt has a neatly flanged edge; the knuckle guard usually narrows towards the pommel, near to which is a slot for the sword knot, but in this example the guard broadens and has no slot. Although similar, this sword cannot be Austrian. The Pattern of 1769 is the prototype for the British weapon but has a shorter blade and different back piece, changed in 1773 to the type adopted by Britain, but with a top nut as well.
So, IX.1282 conforms exactly to neither of these Austrian patterns. It does however compare very closely with Sergeant Shaw's sword (IX.968, mentioned above) the only differences being the minor one of slight variation in length of fullers and overall length. In view of the possible remains of a wax seal (see Description) IX.1282 may be a sealed pattern, and, if so production of this pattern may have been simplified thereafter for speed of manufacture. In this case IX.968 must be an early example. Shaw's own sword was broken at Waterloo, so it is not clear from where IX.968 came from (for further discussion of this point see Morgan 2001).
See typed inventory entry for a table of measurements comparing IX.1282, IX.982 and a typical Pattern 1792 example.
Another example of this variant pattern was in private ownership in January 1990 - see correspondence on inventory file (also illus. in Morgan 2001). Unlike IX.968 and IX.1282, the privately owned example has inspection and service markings and a sword knot slot, showing that this example at least entered service. Morgan (2001) suggests that the two RA examples may never have been issued.
For background on the Austrian examples, see : Ottenfeld & Teuber, 'Die Osterreichesches Armee von 1700 bis 1867', Vienna 1895, and 'Deutches Waffen Journal', N.10, October 1972.
Robson 1996 (see Pubs, above) suggests the raised rim 'may have been to accommodate a leather hilt lining since there is evidence that such linings were in use in the Waterloo period in the Household Cavalry at least [references given in note 24]'. Robson infers that this variant may have been introduced some time after the pattern was initially introduced (CHECK AGAINST TEXT), though Morgan (2001) disagrees with this.