Object Title

Sword and scabbard

Sword and scabbard

Date

about 1896-1899

Object Number

IX.1300 A-B

Provenance

From the Royal Ordnance Depot, Weedon (Northamptonshire), latterly nos 176, 177 (formerly no. 103). (Latterly Loan [CL]90).

Physical Description

This example made for the Indian service. Hilt: Steel hilt consisting of a sheet steel guard pierced for a sword-knot, black-painted, ribbed, cast iron grip, and round top-nut (serving as a tang button).


Blade: Curved, single-edged blade with a flat back, a rounded hatchet point and a broad fuller at the back extending from the ricasso to approx. 205 mm (8 in.) from the tip.


scabbard : Of brown leather with brass fittings of the pattern - the locket with frog-stud and the chape with straight (Mk I) bottom. The locket is reversed and the stitching runs up what would normally be the outside, to enable the sword to be worn in the Indian fashion, with the cutting edge to the rear. Marks on the scabbard will be described as if the scabbard was orientated in the normal European manner.

Dimensions

Dimensions: Sword: overall length: appprox. 899 mm (35 3/8 in), blade length: 757 mm (29 13/16 in), blade width, by hilt: 39 mm (1 9/16 in), Scabbard: length: 772 mm (29 3/4 in) Weight: Sword: 1.010 kg (2 lb 4 oz), Scabbard: 465 g. (1 lb 0 oz)

Inscriptions and Marks

Sword:5On grip, in white paint: 176 (a Weedon inventory number).5On blade, on inside, stamped: 05; 97; crown over B over 3 (this whole mark struck twice); crown over BR over 4.5On outside, on outside, stamped: broad arrow; M[OLE] / BIRMM; crown over B over 3; X.5On forward edge of ricasso, stamped: a mark like a tick, possibly an incomplete character.Scabbard:5On locket, on mouth rim, stamped: 177 (a Weedon inventory number).5On leather, on 'inside', in manuscript on a paper label pasted on: No 177 / Scabbard Sword / Mountain Batty.5On leather, on 'inside', in white paint: 177 (a Weedon inventory number).5On leather, on 'outside', stamped: broad arrow over crown over B over 26 over 97.

Associations

Bibliographic References

P.J. Lankester and G. Rimer, 'A 19th-century chest of arms', Royal Armouries Yearbook, III, 1998, pp. 77-108, at pp. 97 (discussion of the pattern generally), 103 (brief catalogue entry)

Notes

For the 1896 pattern Mountain Artillery pattern generally, see B. Robson, 'Swords of the British Army...', rev'd edn, London, 1996, pp. 228, 229, Pl. 206 (with Mk II scabbard), 230; also, I.D. Skennerton, 'List of changes in British war material... volume 2 1886-1900', priv. publ., Margate, Australia, 1977, no. 8368. Photocopies of the un-numbered specification of August 1896 and of the accompanying drawing AID 107 are on the inv. file; also of a revised specification for the sword (SA 186) approved in March 1902, with accompanying drawing AID 107A. The original (Mark I) scabbard had a chape with a straight end (as on the present sword); the chape on the Mark II, introduced in 1899, had a rounded end. A copy of the specification for the Mk II scabbard (SA 137) of January 1899 and of the accompanying drawing (AID 168) are on the inv. file; also of a revised specification for the Mark II scabbard (SA 186) of March 1902.
(old note in IBE for IX.1297): This pattern of sword was chiefly for use in India. It is worth noting that the Mole company marked some of their swords, 'Makers to the War & India Offices'.
Other swords of this pattern in the Royal Armouries collections are: IX.1299 (with Mk II scabbard), IX.7488 and IX.7489 (no scabbards). IX.1297 and IX.1298 are precursors or variants of this pattern, having shaped 'rearguards' and oval 'tang-buttons'. The same or very similar blades occur, with brass stirrup hilts, on IX.1485 (q.v.) and IX.1486, and, in a drastically shortened version on IX.7590 (q.v.) to IX.7603 (inclusive). The same type of hilt and similar but very slightly different blades occur on IX.5413 (q.v.) to IX.5424 (hangers in a chest of arms); also IX.5447.
(old note in IBE for IX.1297) 'This [pattern of] sword was chiefly for use in India. It is worth noting that the Mole company marked some of their swords, 'Makers to the War & India Offices''. IX.1299 and IX.7588 bear ISD (India Store Depot) markings and IX.7589 had crown over I markings, indicating that all were for the Indian service.
The maker's name of Mole on its own (which could have been used from the 1830s) is unlikely to have been in use after about 1920 (see W.E. May and P.G.W. Annis, 'Swords for Sea Service', 2 vols (cont. pag.), London, 1970, p. 319). If the Mark I scabbard is original to the sword, bot must date to before 1899.