Object Title

Sword

Sword

Date

1831-1870

Object Number

IX.426

Provenance

The Typed inventory says 'Ex Gaunt Collection to replace missing item'.

Physical Description

Brass cross-hilt hilt, cast in one, consisting of: lion's head 'pommel' which merges into the slender hexagonal section grip (the arrises worn by polishing), which tapers towards the blade; quillons which taper towards their button-shaped terminals which are flattened on the insides; and langets which taper towards the blade tip and have rounded ends.


The straight, double-edged blade is of flattened diamond section, with a vestigial ricasso, and has several quite deep patches of corrosion. There is a leather buff-piece.

Dimensions

Dimensions: Overall length: 701 mm (28 3/8 in.), Blade length: 584 mm (23 in.), Blade width, by hilt: 25 mm (1 in.) Weight: 595 g (1 lb 5 oz)

Inscriptions and Marks

On the hilt, on the grip, on the inside, engraved(?): '1 B S F GDS NO 10' (1st Battalion, Scots Fusilier Guards [band sword no.] 10).

Associations

Places Britain

Bibliographic References

[C ffoulkes, Inventory and survey of the armouries of the Tower of London, London, HMSO, 1916 - not included - see Notes.]

Notes

The Royal Armnoures has at least two more swords of this 'pattern': IX.431 and IX.3705 which differ slightly from the present sword: they have loose rings mounted between the lion's jaws of the 'pommel' (presumably for attaching a sword knot), they have longer blades, and the quillon terminals are not flattened on the insides. IX.431 and IX.3705 have no regimental markings but are marked, respectively, '7' and '10' and, from the similarity of the form and size of the numbers, must be from the same set.
Brian Robson ('Swords of the British Army', 1st edn, 1975, p. 170, Pl. 176) illustrated IX.431 and dated it to c. 1820 in the caption. Robson did not include this illustration in the 2nd edition of his book but, in its place, illustrated a similar, though not identical, pattern, in the SUSM (now the National War Museum of Scotland), no. 1988-30). This has a grip which swells out on one side to fit the hand, quillon terminals in the form of thistles, and double langets. The inside of the grip is marked, in very similar letters to those on IX.426, '[illegible character] B S F GDS' 28' (-- Battalion Scots Fusilier Guards [band sword no.] 28) and below, in the same letter style, '1854'.
The Typed Inventory for IX.431 compared this pattern with a band sword of the 21st Regiment (Royal North British Fusiliers) in the SUSM (now the National War Museum of Scotland) but this type, although the hilt is similar (but not identical), has a long curved blade (see illus. of another example in the National Army Museum (no. 8404-129), Robson, op. cit (1996), p. 196, Pl. 189). This pattern of sword was worn by the 21st Regimantal band during the Crimean War ('ibid'., p. 195). A note in the Typed Inventory for IX.426, in A V B Norman's hand, reads, 'Sim[ilar] sword in Rochester Mus[um] (1980) marked for the local Volunteer unit'.
Another hilt of this 'pattern' was on a sword sold at Kent Sales (nr Dartford), Special Sale Supplement 175, 16 August 1991, Lot 10 (illus. Pl. [IX]) but the blade was curved, single-edged, with a loing (1 3/4 in.) ricasso. It was marked (on the blade?) with a broad arrow and cancellation stamp.
A note in the Typed Inventory says 'The Scots <'deleted' and changed to '3rd' by A V B Norman> Guards were known as the Scots Fusilier Guards from the reign of William IV until 1877'. Assuming the markins on IX.426 and the NWMS swords were not added later, the use of the title Scots Fusilier Guards, together with the date 1854 on the grip of IX.426, suggests this 'pattern' dates to the mid-19th century.
Although this inventory number falls within the sequence included in ffoulkes's published 'Inventory' (1916), the Provenance in the Typed Inventory (see above) makes it clear that this is not the sword described by ffoulkes and foulkes's decription confirms this: 'Band Sword (Early 19th Cnetury), with spiral grip, three-bar hand-guard of brass and blade stamped with the name HADDON'. There is a drawing of a mark in the right margin (a crowned L?), but it is captioned number No. 42 (recte No. 426). However, that mark probably was on the sword then numbered IX.426, since a different mark is shown by the entry for IX.42.