Object Title

Sword and scabbards

Sword and scabbards



Object Number



Purchased at auction from Wallis & Wallis, 29 April, 1998. Sold from the Geoffrey R. Worrall Collection. Originally purchased by Worrall at a Wallis and Wallis Special Sale, 26 February 1979.

Physical Description

The sword has a mameluke hilt of gilt copper alloy with ivory scales (secured by two rivets with decorative heads. The 'pommel' has a sword knot slot. The cross-guard is of the usual form with langets and cast relief decoration comprising a roundel in the centre surrounded by foliage which extends along the langets quillons, the latter having egg-shaped terminals clasped by acanthus leaves.

The curved single-edged blade has a false edge for the last 280 mm (11 in.) and a tip in line with the back. It has blued and gilt eteched decoration for just over half its length comprising (from the hilt), on the inside: a trophy of arms, PENINSULA (on a scroll), an illegible monogram (of three or four letters, including C and W), a prancing horse (possibly a crest), VESTIGIA./Nulla Retrorsum, (on two scrolls), a foliage moitif, crossed laurels, a crown, a lion's mask and draped curtains, and a foliate branch; on the outisde: a military trophy, a monogram (probabbly WC), a mounted cavalryman, scrolls inscribed (top to bottom) BATTLES OF/CATEAU./LLERENA./
SALAMANCA/VITTORIA./TOULOUSE., the British Royal arms (pre 1837; possibly pre 1816), a foliate motif and a foliate branch.

Scabbard 1 (full dress): of wood, covered in black-stained fish-skin, dominated by its gilt copper alloy mounts which have shaped ends. The top- and mid-locket, each with a loose suspension ring, have, to the outside, prominent cast relief panels, each with a lion's mask surrounded by foliage; the surrounding flat areas have engraved foliage. The deep chape is engraved with leaves and flowers and has a narrow, asymmetrical shoe at the end. The insides of the mounts are plain except for triple engraved lines around the ends.

Scabbard 2 (service or field dress): of iron or steel with two narrow bands supporting loose suspensions rings, and a narrow, asymmetrical shoe at the end. The mouthpiece is retained by two screws.


Dimensions: Sword: overall length: 839 mm (33 in), blade length, from back edge at hilt to tip: 699 mm (27 1/2 in), blade width: 34 mm (1 5/16 in), Scabbard 1: length: mouth by back edge to tip: 728 mm (28 5/8 in), Scabbard 2: length, mouth by back edge to tip: 730 mm (28 3/4 in) Weight: Sword: 805 gm ( 1 lb 13 oz), Scabbard 1: 715 gm (1 lb 10 oz), Scabbard 2: 428 gm (15 1/2 oz)

Inscriptions and Marks

None visible.


Places Britain


B. Robson, 'Swords of the British Army...', revised [2nd] edn, London 1996, p. 90 refers to mameluke-hilted sabres being carried by a small number of heavy cavalry regiments for a period, probably during the first half of the nineteenth century, citing the 1st (King's) Dragoon Guards (Pl. 72), the 5th Dragoon Guards (no illus.) and the 6th Dragoon Guards (Pl. 73).
The plain steel scabbard is probably for wear with Dress; the more elaborate one for wear with Full Dress (cf scabbards for mameluke-hilted swords carried by Lancer regiments (Robson 1996, p. 95)).
The battle honours range from 1794 (Cateau) to 1814 (Peninsula and Toulouse).
In the 1979 Wallis and Wallis catalogue the initials on the blade monograms were given as CW and AW; in the 1998 Wallis and Wallis sale catalogue as C W H (only). The latter reading was probably that of Geoffrey Worrall (the previous owner) and presumably on this basis the sword was identified as having belonged to (Cadogan) William Hodgson. A letter from the Chief Librarian, Ministry of Defence, Whitehall to Mr Worrall, forming part of the lot in the sale (on inv. file), provides the following information concerning Cadogan William Hodgson:
'From 10th September 1812 Hodgson saw service as a lieutenant with the 22nd Light Dragoons [dispanded in 1819]; he then joined the 5th Dragoon Guards and from 24th October 1821 was placed on the Irish Half Pay List and very shortly afterwards on the British Half Pay List with the rank of Major. He disappears from the Army List altogether in the late 1830s. In October 1833 Hodgson was granted Royal license and permission to use the name Cadogan, the surname of his late father in law.'.
Unfortunately the date when he transferred to the 5th Dragoon Guards is not stated. The Royal arms on the blade are very summarily drawn and no charges are shown on the escutcheon of Hanover. However, the headdress surmounting the escutcheon does more resemble a bonnet than a crown and, if it is a bonnet, the blade was probably not decorated long after 1816 when the change in the arms occured (PJL). Another 5th Dragoon Guards mameluke-hilted sword is in the Regimental Museum of the Royal Dragoon Guards in York (no. 1987-332): see notes by PJL, 14/01/05 on inv. file). It has only a single scabbard, very similar but not identical to the more elaborate scabbard of IX.5441. The scabbard furniture (including an acorn terminal on an open cusped artched bracket) is very similar to design no, 894 in the Birmingham Pattern Book (Birmingham City Archives ref. 330731, p. 219), dated June 1815 (see P J Lankester, ' 'Made by Matchett, engraved by Cottrill': new light on the manufacture of scabbards in early nineteenth-century Birmingham', Acta of the 17th Conference of the International Committee of Museums and Collections of Arms and Military History. [Ontario, Canada], National Defence: 90-104, at p. xx). The scabbard is marked on the locket 'Osborn and Gunby', 'Birmingham & Pall Mall', and 'By Appointment to His Majesty and the Prince Regent' (the blade has a similar inscription) and the royal arms on the blade has a similar inscription) and the royal arms on the blade are those borne 1801-1816. The sword is therefore datable between about 1805 (when the Osborn and Gunby partnership was formed and 1816.