Eglinton basket hilt sword
1 in stock
Description of the Product
The Highlands were deemed to be both rebellious and lawless by the contemporary British establishment. After the disastrous end of the Jacobite Rebellion at the Battle of Culloden in 1745, it was illegal to carry claymore swords, symbols of Scottishness. The first Highland regiments were originally raised from clans openly loyal to the status quo to police the area. Due to a pressing need for personnel, new Highland regiments were raised to fight in imperial wars. However, the loyalties of the Highlanders were often deemed suspect, and perhaps because they needed to combat these accusations the regiments were often noted for their fierceness. The Claymores, or “great swords” were seen as a mark of distinction by Scottish officers over the more slender sabres used by their English contemporaries. As a broad, heavy weapon the swords were seen as a symbol of physical strength and prowess, and a link to the historic Highland way of life.
The 78th Regiment of Foot, 2nd Highland Battalion was raised in 1757 by Simon Fraser in response to the Government’s need for men to fight the French in North America in the Seven year war, known in North America as the French and Indian War. The boundary between British and French possessions in North America was largely undefined in the 1750s, and the two nations eventually sent troops to enforce their claims. The 78th regiment were issued with a musket and the basket-hilted Highland broadsword. The dirk was supplied by the soldier.
The pinch-of-snuff basket hilt in this sword is best known, and gets its name, from its depiction in William Delacours painting Pinch of Snuff (c. 1760) which shows Malcolm Macpherson of Phoness who, at the age of 67 joined the 78th as a Gentleman Volunteer, and distinguished himself in battle. The pinch-of snuff hilt belongs to a group of mid 18th C. Scottish baskethilt backswords, of which about a dozen examples are known. Mainly the variations are in the configuration of the hilt elements. Most of these swords are mounted with earlier, presumably family blades.
Our sword hails its name from its one time owner, the Earl of Eglinton. Eglinton castle was situated in Ayrshire, on the west coast of Scotland, where the Highland Battalions would have set sail for the New World in defence of the Empire which viewed them with distrust. The Eglinton estate eventually fell into disrepair and the contents of the castle were sold at auction in 1925. The sword can now be found in the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada.
The Eglinton sword features a real ray skin, wire-wrapped grip, intricate basket hilt and a double fuller carbon steel blade. A black scabbard with matching throat & belt stop and tip is included. Made by Windlass Steelcrafts.
Overall length 99 cm
blade 85 cm
long, 3.5 cm
wide. Weight 1.47 kg.
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