Object Title

Sword

Sword

Date

1825-1860

Object Number

IX.536

Provenance

Presumed Tower arsenal.

Physical Description

Hilt of type also used by Army Hospital Corps privates.
Hilt: General Type Description: Brass stirrup-guard, one end flattened to form a terminal plate to the grip in place of a pommel; a loop-guard to the outside of the hand; and a rear quillon with a disc-finial inclined towards the blade. Ribbed, cast iron grip, shaped to the hand, and painted black ('lacquered'). Curved or slightly curved blade.


Blade - Type E: Slightly curved, unfullered, single-edged, flat-backed blade, terminating in a double-edged spear point; and with a false edge and medial ridge for approx. the last 180-205 mm (7-8 in.); short ricasso. Type Specimen: IX.7495.


Variations, losses, damage, etc: most of black paint on grip gone; buff piece missing; extreme blade tip broken.

Dimensions

Dimensions: Overall length: 796 mm (31 5/16 or 31.3 in.), Blade length: 683 mm (26 7/8 in.), Blade width, by hilt: 34 mm (1 1/8 in.) Weight: 905 g. (2 lb. 1 oz.)

Inscriptions and Marks

On blade, on outside, on ricasso, stamped: crown over B over 13.On blade, on spine, near hilt, stamped: REEVES.

Associations

Places Britain

Bibliographic References

A.R. Dufty and A. Borg, European Swords and Daggers in the Tower of London, London, 1974, p. 31 , Pl. 84b.

P.J. Lankester and G. Rimer, 'A 19th-century chest of arms', Royal Armouries Yearbook, III, 1998, pp. 77-108, at pp. 89 (fig. 10b - det. of hilt and top of blade), 101 (brief catalogue entry), 105.

Notes

The maker's name Reeves indicates a date after the very late 1820s and possibly after the mid 1850s see (W.E. May and P.G.W. Annis, 'Swords for Sea Service', 2 vols (cont. pag.), London, 1970, p. 320).
'The pattern generally'
It seems likely that this pattern of sword generally was first introduced for the Coastguard (see H.L. Blackmore, 'Arms of the Customs and the Excise, 'Journal of the Arms and Armour Society', XV, No. 4 (Sept. 1996), pp. 189-219, at pp. 196-7, 199 (fig. 5), 208; Lankester and Rimer 1998, esp. pp. 92-94. A number of different blades types have been found (Lankester and Rimer 1998, pp. 104-106 (appendix II), and one of these, Royal Armouries blade type F, was introduced in or before 1865 for privates of the Army Hospital Corps (see B. Robson, 'Swords of the British Army...', revised edn, London, 1996, pp. 244 (Pl. 216), 245; 1st edn, 1975, pp. 163 (Pl.171), 164), where its introduction for the Army Hospital Corps is dated to c.1861 and its abolition to before c.1887. The crowned GR on the blades of several examples, mostly of type A (e.g. IX.7483 - CHK) but also on the few examples so far found of type D (e.g. IX.7496) indicates a date for those blades of before 1831. On the other hand, the maker's name, Mole, on the blades of several examples (mostly of type E (e.g. 7501), e.g. IX.7501) appears to indicate a date of post 1835.
The design of the hilt is very close to that found on a number of swords with longer, curved blades, which mainly differ in the following ways: in lacking the additional bar outside the hand, in having a concave bracket in the angle of the knuckle-guard, and in (usually) having D-shaped langets. There strong is evidence that this latter pattern was being manufactured from at least c. 1830 until at least the late 19th century, and further evidence to suggest that it was in use in use in India during World War I (1914-18) and in use (probably with a much shortened blade) into the 1920s (see entry for IX.5413 - CHK); Lankester and Rimer 1999: esp. pp. 94-97).


'Blade Types'


The following information is summarized from P.J. Lankester and G. Rimer, 'A nineteenth-century chest of arms, Royal Armouries Yearbook, III (for 1998, publ. 1999), esp. Appendix II (pp. 104-106).


Blade type A (Originally Variation 4; LUI 40/1; PJL's numbering, variation 3) See Lankester and Rimer 1998, 104-5.
Curved, single-edged blade, flat-backed blade with a narrow fuller near the spine, extending for approx. two thirds of its length; short, unfullered ricasso. Type Specimen: IX.7483. Most of this type have blades marked Enfield and have crowned GR inspectors' stamps, the latter indicating a date of 1830 or earlier.


Blade type B (Originally part of Variation 4; though separately classified in LUI (39/14); PJL's numbering, variation 4) See Lankester and Rimer 1998, p. 105.
Broad, slightly curved, single-edged, flat-backed blade with a narrow fuller near the spine, extending for approx. two thirds of its length. Type Specimen: IX.7479. Only one other example recorded in the Royal Armouries at March 1999 (IX.7480). Both RA examples have had the outer bar removed (the stumps rather more neatly finished on IX7479). Both also have blades marked Woolley / Sargant which may indicate a date between about 1816 about 1828, possibly excluding the years 1818-20. Other examples of this blade type have been preserved from Customs Houses and most of these have also had the outer bar removed. It is possible that this pattern was produced by cutting down blades of the so-called pattern 1814 cutlass.


Blade type C (originally Variation 3; LUI 39/15; PJL's numbering, variation 6) See Lankester and Rimer 1998, p. 105.
Curved, unfullered, single-edged, flat-backed blade. Type Specimen: IX.7481. Only one other example recorded in the Royal Armouries at March 1999 (IX.7482) which is less sharply curved and appears to have been made by grinding down a fullered blade. Despite this difference, both guards are marked P.W.G (meaning presently unknown).


Blade type D (Originally Variations 5 and 6 (one of each); not included in LUI listing; added by PJL as 40/3a; PJL's numbering, variation 7) See Lankester and Rimer 1998, p. 105.
Very slightly curved (almost straight), unfullered, single-edged, flat-backed blade, tapering slightly towards a double-edged spear-point which is slightly biased towards the back. Type specimen: IX.7496. Only one other example recorded in the Royal Armouries at March 1999 (IX.7507). Both are marked Enfield and have crowned GR inspectors' stamps, and also larger crowned GR marks of the type found on the early cutlass blades. The GR marks date these blades to 1830 or earlier. Two further examples are in the York Castle Museum CA 1297 and CA 1155).What may have been a type D blade, but mounted on a hilt of the type found on for example, the chest of arms sword (see under IX.5413) was offered for sale at Wallis and Wallis, 16 and 17 March, 1999, Lot 935 (illus. in cat., Pl. 19).


Blade type E (Originally Variation 2; LUI 40/2; PJL's numbering, variation 5) See Lankester and Rimer 1998, p. 105.
Slightly curved, unfullered, single-edged, flat-backed blade, terminating in a double-edged spear point; and with a false edge and medial ridge for approx. the last 180-205 m (7-8 in.); short ricasso. Type Specimen: IX.7495. Several Royal Armouries examples in store at March 1999 are marked Mole and one Reeves. The former indicates a date after the early or mid-1830s and that of Reeves after the very late 1820s, and possibly after the mid-1850s.


Blade type F (Originally Variation [= blade type] 1; LUI 40/3; PJL's numbering, variation 1) See Lankester and Rimer 1998, p. 105.
Very slightly curved, single-edged blade, terminating in double-edged spear-point, and with a false edge for about the final 90 mm (3 ¢ in.); a fairly broad fuller, almost at the back, extends from the end of a short ricasso to within 25 mm or less of the tip. Type Specimen: IX.7509. This is the blade type issued to the Army Hospital Corps in or before 1865 and probably from c. 1861 until or before 1887 (see B. Robson, Swords of the British Army..., rev'd edn, London, 1996, pp. 244 (Pl. 216), 245). A specimen with a scabbard is in the MOD Pattern Room (inv. no. 6867) and other examples have been preserved from Customs Houses. Blades of this type appear to have been made by shortening blades of the 1821 patterns for heavy or light cavalry.


Blade type G (Originally Variation 1A; not included in LUI listing; added by PJL as 40/3b; PJL's numbering, variation 2) See Lankester and Rimer 1998, 106.
Very slightly curved, single-edged blade terminating in double-edged spear-point; broad fuller, almost at the back, rising about 2.5 cm. (1 in.) from the hilt, and extending almost to the tip; short (unfullered) ricasso. Type Specimen: IX.7542. Only one other example recorded in the Royal Armouries at March 1999 (IX.7543). These blades would appear to have been made by shortening blades of the 1853 cavalry pattern.


'Hilt Variations'
No attempt has yet been made to systematically classify variations in the hilts, but it is clear that there are some recognizable variations in the length and amount of curvature of the rear quillon and the size of the terminal. The amount of curvature is difficult to assess because on some the curvature is so acute that it seems improbable that it was originally issued in that form. On some hilts the loop-guard has been removed (also noted on some examples in the Customs and Excise Museum (see Lankester and Rimer 1998, p. 105) but it is not known whether this was done while the swords were in service or later, to aid their display flat against a wall.


'Scabbards'
A curved bladed version was in Wallis and Wallis sale 6 July 1983, lot 1037 (Sale 285), illus., Pl. 14 (blade not visible). It had a scabbard with brass top- and mid locket, each supporting a loose ring.
The scabbard for type F is illustrated in 'Army Equipment', part VII (1865), p. 15, Pl. 4. It is of black leather with an an example is in the MOD Pattern Room collection (inv. no. 6867). elongated frog stud and no locket