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Basket-hilted sword

Burrell Collection Photo Library

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Basket-hilted sword

A basket-hilted sword. This is a popular Scottish weapon and swords of this type were used by Highlanders in the uprisings of 1715 and 1745.

The swords have two main components: the blade, which was usually imported from Europe, and the hilt, which was made in Scotland. The hilt of this sword was made by John Simpson the Elder, a Glaswegian armourer, and has his initials (I S) on the knuckle bow. Simpson was admitted to the Incorporation of Hammermen of Glasgow in 1683 and became the King's Armourer in Scotland in 1715. The style of the hilt suggests it was made in c 1700.

The double-edged blade is older than the hilt. It was made by Herman Keisser, a German armourer, and is engraved with his name and the date 1570. The blade also bears the arms of the Marquis of Montrose. James Graham, the first Marquis (1612-1650) was originally a Covenanter who became a Royalist general. In 1645 his army occupied and looted Glasgow, on its way to defeat by the Covenanters at the Battle of Philiphaugh. He subsequently led an unsuccessful Royalist uprising in 1650, when he was captured and executed.

Reference: A.1952.31.[3]

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums

Keywords:
armourers, arms and armour, basket-hilted swords, Covenanters, double-edged blades, executions, generals, Highlanders, Incorporation of Hammermen, King's Armourers, looting, Royalists, soldiers, sword hilts, Wars of the Covenant



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