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A Fabulous, Original,13th century Knightly Sword of the Henry IIIrd and Simon de Montfort Period, the Battle of Lewes of the 1200's

A Fabulous, Original,13th century Knightly Sword of the Henry IIIrd and Simon de Montfort Period, the Battle of Lewes of the 1200's

What a fabulous original ‘statement piece’ for any collection or decor. In the world of collecting there is so little remaining in the world from this highly significant era in European and British history. And to be able to own and display such an iconic original representation from this time is nothing short of a remarkable privilege. A wonderful example piece, from the ancient knightly age, of the IInd Baron’s War era between Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, and King Henry IIIrd.

The battle site is still not completely agreed upon, but part of the conflict was recorded at Offham hill, and this is was just 4 miles south of our farm, Thousands of the protagonists soldiers were supposedly camped within our grounds, but at present it is not certain for which side they fought. Our farm was originally part of Earl Godwin’s estate, later more famously known as King Harold, who also supposedly camped here on our land immediately before his disastrous Battle of Hastings in 1066 {actually fought inland in the town, that is now called Battle, and not at Hastings at all}. A Canadian funded documentary was filmed here recently.

Effectively, from this time of around eight hundred years ago, from a collectors point of view, nothing else significant survives at all, only the odd small coin or very rarely seen, and almost impossible to own, carved statuary. Medieval 'Oakeshott type XII' Single-Handed Sword
13th century. Oakeshott is the standard that describes and by which defines Medieval swords, their types, and periods of use. A superb original knightly double-edged iron sword with broad, flat, evenly tapering blade, the blade tending to widen perceptibly below the hilt, and the fullers are well defined, extending from below the guard for more than half of the blade's length, the blade's cross-section is of of straight lenticular design, the style of guard one of the most common of the category, i.e. a not exaggeratedly long and straight, with flattened cross-section, the pommel is a handsome thick rhomboid piece, fitted with fastening central rivet. The blade has been broken in combat and lost around quarter of its original length.
See Oakeshott, E., The Sword in the Age of the Chivalry, London,1964 (1994).

A fine example piece, from the ancient knightly age, from almost 800 years past. Although this sword is now in an obvious ancient, and historical, russetted condition, with some elements lacking, every item made of iron from this era, such as the rarest of swords and daggers, even in the Royal Collection, are in this very same state of preservation.

Henry III (1 October 1207 - 16 November 1272), also known as Henry of Winchester, was King of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Aquitaine from 1216 until his death. He was the fourth king of the House of Plantagenet. The son of King John and Isabella of Angouleme, Henry assumed the throne when he was only nine in the middle of the First Barons' War. Cardinal Guala declared the war against the rebel barons to be a religious crusade and Henry's forces, led by William Marshal, defeated the rebels at the battles of Lincoln and Sandwich in 1217. Henry promised to abide by the Great Charter of 1225, which limited royal power and protected the rights of the major barons. His early rule was dominated first by Hubert de Burgh and then Peter des Roches, who re-established royal authority after the war. In 1230, the King attempted to reconquer the provinces of France that had once belonged to his father, but the invasion was a debacle. A revolt led by William Marshal's son, Richard Marshal, broke out in 1232, ending in a peace settlement negotiated by the Church.
Later on the Henry's reign came The Second Barons' War (1264-1267) it was a civil war in England between the forces of a number of barons led by Simon de Montfort against the royalist forces of King Henry III, led initially by the king himself and later by his son, the future King Edward I. The war featured a series of massacres of Jews by Montfort's supporters including his sons Henry and Simon, in attacks aimed at seizing and destroying evidence of Baronial debts.

The Battle of Lewes was one of two main battles of the conflict known as the Second Barons' War. It took place at Lewes in Sussex, on 14 May 1264, just around fourteen miles from our Brighton shop, and four miles south of our farm North of Lewes. It marked the high point of the career of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, and made him the "uncrowned King of England". Henry III left the safety of Lewes Castle and St. Pancras Priory to engage the Barons in battle and was initially successful, his son Prince Edward routing part of the baronial army with a cavalry charge. However Edward pursued his quarry off the battlefield and left Henry's men exposed. Henry was forced to launch an infantry attack up Offham Hill where he was defeated by the barons' men defending the hilltop. The royalists fled back to the castle and priory and the King was forced to sign the Mise of Lewes, ceding many of his powers to Montfort. After a rule of just over a year, Montfort was killed by forces loyal to the King in the Battle of Evesham.

The swords of this era have the following characteristics. The fuller is well-marked and occupies two-thirds to three-quarters of the blade-length. It often starts on the tang within the hilt, and may be double or treble. The grip is a little longer than in the preceding types XI, X etc, averaging about 11.5cm. The tang is generally flat with almost parallel sides, or swelling a little in the middle. The cross can be of almost any style, though a short, straight one is most common, like in this case. The pommel, too, can be of any type though the thick disc with strongly bevelled edges (Type I) predominates. Here however the specimen shows similarity with a sword represented in a sculpture from the cathedral of Bamberg, dated at 1250 AD Douce Apocalypse, c. 1265-70. The dragon, who is Satan, comes forth again (Rev. 20:7). One contemporary painting in the gallery is of the rebel Earl of Gloucester, depicted with his alleged ally, Satan. Among the flags of the host of Satan is that of Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, who had opposed Henry III. Usually the type XII presents a broad, flat, evenly tapering blade, generally with a good sharp point and tending to widen perceptibly below the hilt.(Oakeshott, 1964 (1994), p.42). Weight 1.2 kg, 73cm (28 3/4" inches long overall). As with all our items they are accompanied with a Certificate of Authenticity and thus a lifetime guarantee. As usual the wood grip perished centuries past.Almost every iron weapon that has survived today from this era is now in a fully russetted condition, as is this one, because only the swords of kings, that have been preserved in national or Royal collections are today still in a good state and condition. We will include for the new owner a complimentary wooden display stand, but this amazing ancient artefact of antiquity would also look spectacular mounted within a bespoke case frame, or, on a fine cabinet maker constructed display panel.  read more

Code: 22937

10925.00 GBP

Circa 600 ad  Middle Ages Sword Blade, Re-Hilted Around 1000 Years Ago At The Time of the Norman Invasion in 1066

Circa 600 ad Middle Ages Sword Blade, Re-Hilted Around 1000 Years Ago At The Time of the Norman Invasion in 1066

It is very rare indeed to fine an original sword from the pre Norman period, but this one is exceptional, in that it is very likely mounted with an inlaid blade of the 5th to 8th century, possibly a Norse or Frankish ancestor of its Norman conquest period owner, therefore its blade was already between 300 to 500 years old, when it was hilted around 900 to 1000 years ago during the Norman Conquest. Thus the blade could be between 1300 to 1500 years old.

It was the earliest Norman knights that went on the earliest crusades to liberate Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Such as Richard the Lionheart King Richard the 1st.

The blade is shorter than when first used, with the end probably damaged and lost in combat. It is inlaid with inserts of copper, bronze and silver, in a circular bullet shaped patterns, one with 3 metal concentric circles. The pommel appears to be once further inlaid with silver. All the indications are that this amazing sword could very likely have been used by a very high ranking nobleman in the Norman Invasion 1066 period, and it most likely it had already been used by a highborn warrior or noble for almost 5 centuries prior to its re-hitting during the time of the invasion of Britain.

This piece simply a remarkable artefact from the previous two millennia.

It is a joy to own it even just for a very brief and it is still a wonderful original knight’s sword from the days of the Norman invasion, and prior to that, from the period known to historians as the ‘dark ages‘
It is an iron two-edged sword with broad two-edged lentoid-section blade, slightly tapering square-section crossguard. flat tang, D-shaped pommel, likely with inlaid silver, vertical bar to each face; the blade has traces of copper inlay to one face, to the other two applied discs: the upper copper-alloy with punched rosette detailing, the lower abraded to its present state of three concentric rings (apparently copper, bronze and silver). 850 grams, 61cm (24"). Fair condition, typical for its great age; lower blade now absent; edges notched and partly absent, all potentially due to combat.
See Oakeshott, E., Records of the Medieval Sword, Woodbridge, 1991, items X.4, X.5, and see p.21, item 8, for the blade.
The blade does not bear a fuller and is a plain lentoid-section which it is why it could well indicate a date of manufacture in the 5th-8th century, the Dark Ages in northern Europe; the crossguard and the pommel are the re-hilted later additions, more typical of the later 10th century, i.e. Petersen's Type X (Oakeshott, p.25). The Normans were an ethnic group that arose from contact between Norse Viking settlers of a region in France, named Normandy after them, and indigenous Franks and Gallo-Romans. The settlements in France followed a series of raids on the French coast mainly from Denmark — although some came from Norway and Iceland as well — and gained political legitimacy when the Viking leader Rollo agreed to swear fealty to King Charles III of West Francia following the Siege of Chartres in 911 AD. The intermingling of Norse settlers and native Franks and Gallo-Romans in Normandy produced an ethnic and cultural "Norman" identity in the first half of the 10th century, an identity which continued to evolve over the centuries. The new Norman rulers were culturally and ethnically distinct from the old French aristocracy, most of whom traced their lineage to the Franks of the Carolingian dynasty from the days of Charlemagne in the 9th century. Most Norman knights remained poor and land-hungry, and by the time of the expedition and invasion of England in 1066, Normandy had been exporting fighting horsemen for more than a generation. Many Normans of Italy, France and England eventually served as avid Crusaders soldiers under the Italo-Norman prince Bohemund I of Antioch and the Anglo-Norman king Richard the Lion-Heart, one of the more famous and illustrious Kings of England.The Story of the Norman Conquest
The majority of the scenes which together tell the story of the Norman Conquest match in many instances with medieval written accounts even if there are, as one might expect with a purely visual narrative, some omissions such as the Anglo-Saxons’ battle with Norway’s Harald Hardrada at Stamford Bridge three weeks prior to Hastings. Again because it is a visual account, with only a few Latin words as pointers, many scenes are open to several interpretations. The tapestry starts with a scene set in 1064 CE where the English king Edward the Confessor (r. 1042-1066 CE) says farewell to Harold Godwinson, his brother-in-law and the Earl of Wessex, who is to travel to Normandy on an unknown mission. Norman writers would record the mission’s purpose as a pledge of Saxon loyalty to William, Duke of Normandy, while an English chronicle suggests it was merely a visit to secure the release of Saxon prisoners. On 14 October 1066, William’s forces clashed with an English army near Hastings. Within a century of these events taking place, over a dozen writers had described the battle and its aftermath. Some of these accounts are lengthy, but they contradict each other and do not allow us to reconstruct the battle with any certainty.

English perspectives on the Battle of Hastings are found in the Old English annals known as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. In one version, perhaps copied in the 1070s, it was claimed that William built a ‘castel’ at Hastings before Harold arrived. Harold then gathered a large army but William attacked before Harold could organise his troops. There were heavy casualties on both sides: among the dead were King Harold himself and his brothers, Leofwine and Gyrth.There are also differing accounts of one of the most iconic yet debated parts of the battle: the death of Harold. Was he killed by an arrow to the eye, as claimed by Amatus of Monte Cassino, writing in the 11th century? Was he hacked to bits, as recounted by Bishop Guy of Amiens (died 1075)? Or was he shot with arrows and then put to the sword, as described by the 12th-century chronicler, Henry of Huntingdon? Hastings is one of the most famous battles in English history. Modern historians continue to debate its impact. The Norman Conquest brought many social, economic, political and cultural changes, but some people living in 11th-century England did not even consider this battle to be the most important event of 1066.

A monk writing at Christ Church, Canterbury, recorded just two events for that year in a chronicle kept at the cathedral: ‘Here King Edward died. In this year, Christ Church burned.’ Another scribe then added the words, ‘Here came William’. This is a good reminder that that the Battle of Hastings did not affect everyone in the same way, even if it became part of English folklore. This fabulous most ancient sword could be simply framed under glass for display. Almost every weapon that has survived today from this era is now in a fully russetted condition, as is this one, because only the swords of kings, that have been preserved in national or Royal collections are today still in a good state and condition. We will include for the new owner a complimentary wooden display stand, but this amazing ancient artefact of antiquity would also look spectacular mounted within a bespoke case frame, or, on a fine cabinet maker constructed display panel.  read more

Code: 23230

7995.00 GBP

An Exceptional Third Pattern Napoleonic Wars Brown Bess, FrontlIne Issue Made At The Tower of London with Bayonet Circa 1808. The British ‘Brown Bess’ Was The Most Famed Musket In The World. No Army In The World Failed To Respect Them

An Exceptional Third Pattern Napoleonic Wars Brown Bess, FrontlIne Issue Made At The Tower of London with Bayonet Circa 1808. The British ‘Brown Bess’ Was The Most Famed Musket In The World. No Army In The World Failed To Respect Them

Probably the most famous military flintlock musket in the world today, and certainly one of the most historically important and desirable long guns of its type from the Napoleonic wars.

A typical regulation example but in exceptional and excellent condition, with a stunning colour and patina. A British Napoleonic Wars regulation, regiment of the line issue musket, Crown GR and Tower, ring neck cock lock with government GR Crown stamp, regulation brass mounts, iron ramrod, sling swivels and triangular socket bayonet. Walnut stock with signs of combat use but still exceptionally fine. A musket that it would be highly unlikely ever to improve upon to find a better example.
The Brown Bess musket began its life almost 300 years ago, and it helped in creating one of the greatest trading empires the world has ever seen and, among other achievements, made the 'British Square' the almost undefeated form of infantry defence throughout the world. Made in four distinct patterns it originally started life as a 46 inch barrel musket called the Long Land or Ist pattern Brown Bess. Then in around 1768 the gun evolved and the barrel was shortened to 42 inches as 46 was deemed unwieldy and renamed the Short Land or 2nd pattern. Although the Long Land was made continually for another 20 years. With the onset of the Napoleonic Wars in the 1790s, the British Board of Ordnance found itself woefully short of the 250,000 muskets it would need to equip its forces. It managed to produce around 20,000 short land pattern muskets but this was simply not sufficient. At that time the British East India Company maintained it own troops and had contracted with makers to produce a simplified version of the Brown Bess musket with a 39-inch barrel and less ornate furniture and stock work. It was generally felt that the standard of these "India pattern" muskets was not up to the standard of the earlier Besses, but necessity required action so the authorities convinced Company officials to turn over their stores to the Crown. By 1797 the urgencies of war ultimately created the demise of the Short Pattern, and all manufacture was turned to building the more simple 'India' pattern. For the most part, the gun underwent few changes from its introduction until Waterloo, with the exception of the cock, which was altered from the traditional swan-neck style to a sturdier, reinforced ringed version in around 1808. Barrel 39inch overall 54.75 inches long.

Action has a very good and strong mainspring. As with all our antique guns no license is required as they are all unrestricted antique collectables  read more

Code: 25271

3750.00 GBP

A Stunning Directoire Period French Blue and Gilt ‘Award’ & Imperial Garde Grade Sabre of a General or General Staff Officer, Probably By Boutet Director of Versailles. Napoleon's Personal Sword Maker

A Stunning Directoire Period French Blue and Gilt ‘Award’ & Imperial Garde Grade Sabre of a General or General Staff Officer, Probably By Boutet Director of Versailles. Napoleon's Personal Sword Maker

Gilt bronze mounting, engraved and chased. Round-backed ebony handle with fine chequering. Short-skirted lion's head pommel chased with feathers and scales. Single-branch hilt decorated with oak leaves and acorns, cruise with two chased auricles in a row around the edge, straight quillon ending in a lion's head. Curved, superbly engraved deluxe blue and gilt flat-backed blade, Infantry style scabbard with frog mount in copper gilt with leather in superb condition.

We show in the gallery a most similar sabre, by Boutet of the Versailles workshop, presented to General Lefebvre by the executive board of the French Directory before Napoleon declared himself emperor, another very similar sword was used by Marshal Davout {see his portrait}, The workmanship of the hilt is so fine and similar to Lefebvres Boutet presentation sabre that we presume this fabulous sabre was likely also made by Boutet at Versailles.

The Directory (also called Directorate, French: le Directoire) was the governing five-member committee in the French First Republic from 26 October 1795 (4 Brumaire an IV) until October 1799, when it was overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte in the Coup of 18 Brumaire and replaced by the Consulate. Directoire is the name of the final four years of the French Revolution. Mainstream historiography1 also uses the term in reference to the period from the dissolution of the National Convention on 26 October 1795 to Napoleon's coup d'état.

This sword would have been used and carried in combat by one of those officer's on Napoleon's general staff. Napoleon was, and remains, famous for his battlefield victories, and historians have spent enormous attention in analysing them.

Napoleon had numerous general staff officer's. However, a general in the field would have a relatively smaller cadre of officers supporting them.. Whether they were on Napoleon's staff or the staff of a general, their function was the same, to gather reports from field officers, précis them and ensure Napoleon and the generals have the right information. Then take Napoleon's or the general’s high level orders and ensure they get to the correct field officers, which may mean encoding them by hand.
Manage all the logistics, ensure that all the units are supplied with food, equipment and munitions.

In 2008, Donald Sutherland wrote:

The ideal Napoleonic battle was to manipulate the enemy into an unfavourable position through manoeuvre and deception, force him to commit his main forces and reserve to the main battle and then undertake an enveloping attack with uncommitted or reserve troops on the flank or rear. Such a surprise attack would either produce a devastating effect on morale, or force him to weaken his main battle line. Either way, the enemy's own impulsiveness began the process by which even a smaller French army could defeat the enemy's forces one by one.

After 1807, Napoleon's creation of a highly mobile, well-armed artillery force gave artillery usage increased tactical importance. Napoleon, rather than relying on infantry to wear away the enemy's defences, could now use massed artillery as a spearhead to pound a break in the enemy's line. Once that was achieved he sent in infantry and cavalry. The Napoleonic Wars brought radical changes to Europe, but the reactionary forces returned to power and tried to reverse some of them by restoring the Bourbon house on the French throne. Napoleon had succeeded in bringing most of Western Europe under one rule. In most European countries, subjugation in the French Empire brought with it many liberal features of the French Revolution including democracy, due process in courts, abolition of serfdom, reduction of the power of the Catholic Church, and a demand for constitutional limits on monarchs. The increasing voice of the middle classes with rising commerce and industry meant that restored European monarchs found it difficult to restore pre-revolutionary absolutism and had to retain many of the reforms enacted during Napoleon's rule. Institutional legacies remain to this day in the form of civil law, with clearly defined codes of law an enduring legacy of the Napoleonic Code.

While Napoleon is best known as a master strategist and charismatic presence on the battlefield, he was also a tactical innovator. He combined classic formations and tactics that had been used for thousands of years with more recent ones, such as Frederick the Great's "Oblique Order" (best illustrated at the Battle of Leuthen) and the "mob tactics" of the early Levée en masse armies of the Revolution. Napoleonic tactics and formations were highly fluid and flexible. In contrast, many of the Grande Armée's opponents were still wedded to a rigid system of "Linear" (or Line) tactics and formations, in which masses of infantry would simply line up and exchange vollies of fire, in an attempt to either blow the enemy from the field or outflank them. Due to the vulnerabilities of the line formations to flanking attacks, it was considered the highest form of military manoeuvre to outflank one's adversary. Armies would often retreat or even surrender if this was accomplished. Consequently, commanders who adhered to this system would place a great emphasis on flank security, often at the expense of a strong centre or reserve. Napoleon would frequently take full advantage of this linear mentality by feigning flank attacks or offering the enemy his own flank as "bait" (best illustrated at the Battle of Austerlitz and also later at Lützen), then throw his main effort against their centre, split their lines, and roll up their flanks. He always kept a strong reserve as well, mainly in the form of his Imperial Guard, which could deliver a "knockout blow" if the battle was going well or turn the tide if it was not.

Overall the condition is stunning. Especially the original mercurial gilt on the hilt and the blue and gilt decor on the blade In the 20th century generals plotted campaigns and were not often in the thick of combat. In the Napoleonic wars era general staff officers fought, more often than not alongside their men in hand to hand combat, hence, Napoleon lost so many of his general staff officers.

The chequered ebony grip has narrow splits on both sides, but otherwise excellent. The outside quillon has two small holes, this would have been for a small silver cartouch mount of Napoleon's bust profile, used by the privilege of status, by very special grade officer's. It may have been removed in the restoration period of 1814, in order to show the officer removed his previous connection to Napoleon {in order to preserve his current service and thus his senior status in France post Napoleon, before the 100 Days of Napoleon's return from Elba}.  read more

Code: 25317

6250.00 GBP

A Very Fine Napoleonic, Ist Empire, General Staff Officer's Sabre. Three Bar Hilt with Deluxe Imperial General Staff Officer's Scabbard

A Very Fine Napoleonic, Ist Empire, General Staff Officer's Sabre. Three Bar Hilt with Deluxe Imperial General Staff Officer's Scabbard

A fabulous Ist Empire deluxe quality Light Cavalry pattern staff officer's sabre with three bar guard hilt, called in France the "Hunter-style".

Overall in excellent plus condition for its age, with original wire bound leather grip.

During the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars the French armies had approximately 2,000,000 plus serving soldiers, of those there were around 2000 generals commanding them in the armies of France, directly under their commander-in-chief, the Emperor Napoleon. However, for example, at the Battle of Borodino, Napoleon lost 1928 of his officer's including 49 Generals, in just one day!

This sword would have been used and carried in combat by one of those officer's on Napoleon's general staff. Napoleon was, and remains, famous for his battlefield victories, and historians have spent enormous attention in analysing them.

Napoleon had numerous general staff officer's. However, a general in the field would have a relatively smaller cadre of officers supporting them.. Whether they were on Napoleon's staff or the staff of a general, their function was the same, to gather reports from field officers, précis them and ensure Napoleon and the generals have the right information. Then take Napoleon's or the general’s high level orders and ensure they get to the correct field officers, which may mean encoding them by hand.
Manage all the logistics, ensure that all the units are supplied with food, equipment and munitions.

In 2008, Donald Sutherland wrote:

The ideal Napoleonic battle was to manipulate the enemy into an unfavourable position through manoeuvre and deception, force him to commit his main forces and reserve to the main battle and then undertake an enveloping attack with uncommitted or reserve troops on the flank or rear. Such a surprise attack would either produce a devastating effect on morale, or force him to weaken his main battle line. Either way, the enemy's own impulsiveness began the process by which even a smaller French army could defeat the enemy's forces one by one.

After 1807, Napoleon's creation of a highly mobile, well-armed artillery force gave artillery usage increased tactical importance. Napoleon, rather than relying on infantry to wear away the enemy's defences, could now use massed artillery as a spearhead to pound a break in the enemy's line. Once that was achieved he sent in infantry and cavalry. The Napoleonic Wars brought radical changes to Europe, but the reactionary forces returned to power and tried to reverse some of them by restoring the Bourbon house on the French throne. Napoleon had succeeded in bringing most of Western Europe under one rule. In most European countries, subjugation in the French Empire brought with it many liberal features of the French Revolution including democracy, due process in courts, abolition of serfdom, reduction of the power of the Catholic Church, and a demand for constitutional limits on monarchs. The increasing voice of the middle classes with rising commerce and industry meant that restored European monarchs found it difficult to restore pre-revolutionary absolutism and had to retain many of the reforms enacted during Napoleon's rule. Institutional legacies remain to this day in the form of civil law, with clearly defined codes of law an enduring legacy of the Napoleonic Code.

While Napoleon is best known as a master strategist and charismatic presence on the battlefield, he was also a tactical innovator. He combined classic formations and tactics that had been used for thousands of years with more recent ones, such as Frederick the Great's "Oblique Order" (best illustrated at the Battle of Leuthen) and the "mob tactics" of the early Levée en masse armies of the Revolution. Napoleonic tactics and formations were highly fluid and flexible. In contrast, many of the Grande Armée's opponents were still wedded to a rigid system of "Linear" (or Line) tactics and formations, in which masses of infantry would simply line up and exchange vollies of fire, in an attempt to either blow the enemy from the field or outflank them. Due to the vulnerabilities of the line formations to flanking attacks, it was considered the highest form of military manoeuvre to outflank one's adversary. Armies would often retreat or even surrender if this was accomplished. Consequently, commanders who adhered to this system would place a great emphasis on flank security, often at the expense of a strong centre or reserve. Napoleon would frequently take full advantage of this linear mentality by feigning flank attacks or offering the enemy his own flank as "bait" (best illustrated at the Battle of Austerlitz and also later at Lützen), then throw his main effort against their centre, split their lines, and roll up their flanks. He always kept a strong reserve as well, mainly in the form of his Imperial Guard, which could deliver a "knockout blow" if the battle was going well or turn the tide if it was not.

Overall the condition is stunning . The scabbard's inner and outer side has just a very few surface contact bruises. In the 20th century generals plotted campaigns and were not often in the thick of combat. In the Napoleonic wars era general staff officers fought, more often than not alongside their men in hand to hand combat, hence, Napoleon lost so many of his general staff officers.  read more

Code: 25315

5250.00 GBP

An Exemplary 1777 Pattern Tower of London, Royal Navy Sea-Service Flintlock Pistol Dated 1800. From Admiral Lord Nelson's Navy. With Long 12 inch Barrel. Equal To & Likely Better Than The Best Surviving Examples In The National Maritime Museum Collection

An Exemplary 1777 Pattern Tower of London, Royal Navy Sea-Service Flintlock Pistol Dated 1800. From Admiral Lord Nelson's Navy. With Long 12 inch Barrel. Equal To & Likely Better Than The Best Surviving Examples In The National Maritime Museum Collection

Fantastic patina to the stock. The King George IIIrd issue British Royal Naval Sea Service pistol has always been the most desirable and valuable pistol sought by collectors, but this example, like our last other 1805 sea service pistol, is truly exceptional.
Exactly as issued and used by all the British Ship's-of-the-Line, at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. {although this pistol would have seen five years of service before Trafalgar.}
Finest walnut stock with wondrous patination, Tower of London engraved lock with GR Crown, long belt hook with ordnance crown stamp, all traditional brass furniture, skull-crusher butt, crown ordnance stamped trigger guard, very good steel, patinated barrel with centre position at the breech, proof stamps.

Ships that used this pistol at Trafalgar, such as;
HMS Victory,
HMS Temeraire,
HMS Dreadnought,
HMS Revenge,
HMS Agamemnon,
HMS Colossus
HMS Leviathan &
HMS Achilles.
Some of the most magnificent ships, manned by the finest crews, that have ever sailed the seven seas.

Battle of Trafalgar, (October 21, 1805), naval engagement of the Napoleonic Wars, which established British naval supremacy for more than 100 years; it was fought west of Cape Trafalgar, Spain, between Cádiz and the Strait of Gibraltar. A fleet of 33 ships (18 French and 15 Spanish) under Admiral Pierre de Villeneuve fought a British fleet of 27 ships under Admiral Horatio Nelson.

At the end of September 1805, Villeneuve had received orders to leave Cádiz and land troops at Naples to support the French campaign in southern Italy. On October 19–20 his fleet slipped out of Cádiz, hoping to get into the Mediterranean Sea without giving battle. Nelson caught him off Cape Trafalgar on October 21.

Villeneuve ordered his fleet to form a single line heading north, and Nelson ordered his fleet to form two squadrons and attack Villeneuve’s line from the west, at right angles. By noon the larger squadron, led by Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood in the Royal Sovereign, had engaged the rear (south) 16 ships of the French-Spanish line. At 11:50 AM Nelson, in the Victory, signaled his famous message: “England expects that every man will do his duty.” Then his squadron, with 12 ships, attacked the van and centre of Villeneuve’s line, which included Villeneuve in the Bucentaure. The majority of Nelson’s squadron broke through and shattered Villeneuve’s lines in the pell-mell battle. Six of the leading French and Spanish ships, under Admiral Pierre Dumanoir, were ignored in the first attack and about 3:30 PM were able to turn about to aid those behind. But Dumanoir’s weak counterattack failed and was driven off. Collingwood completed the destruction of the rear, and the battle ended about 5:00 PM. Villeneuve himself was captured, and his fleet lost 19 or 20 ships—which were surrendered to the British—and 14,000 men, of whom half were prisoners of war. Nelson was mortally wounded by a sniper, but when he died at 4:30 PM he was certain of his complete victory. About 1,500 British seamen were killed or wounded, but no British ships were lost. Trafalgar shattered forever Napoleon’s plans to invade England.

Obviously this arm has signs of combat use and the stock has very minor dings. But when taken into consideration its service use, it is of little consequence compared to it's fabulous condition, which is truly exceptional, with, incredibly, absolutely not a trace of rust or corrosion on the more usually heavily pitted, steel, lock and barrel. A steel belt hook was attached to the reverse of the pistol by the rear most lock mounting screw, and a stud at the inboard rear of the hook engaged a hole in the side plate to keep the belt hook from swiveling when in use. A recurved iron trigger was suspended from a single iron wire pin that passed through the stock and into the lock mortise. A simple, brass-tipped wooden rammer secured under the stock by the ramrod pipe

It still has it's original 12" barrel, which is very scarce as the barrels were shortened by official order, to 9", before the Napoleonic wars.

The first pattern date applied to the Sea Service pistol in this form is 1716. The Pattern 1716 Sea Service Pistol was very similar to the Land Service Pistol of the same era, in overall appearance and design. The pistol was a single shot, flintlock ignition gun with a 12” long, round iron smoothbore barrel in “pistol bore”, approximately .56 caliber. The guns were of simple, but robust construction, and like their land service brethren were built with an eye towards the gun seeing equal service as a club, as it did as a firearm! In fact, US Naval manuals from the first decades of the 1800s included instruction on how to throw the pistol at an enemy, a tactic that no doubt originated in the Royal Navy.  read more

Code: 25296

3995.00 GBP

A Beautiful, Original, 16th Cent. Italian Knight’s ‘Close’ Helmet From  William Randolph Hearst’s Castle, San Simeon Formerly the Most Famous Private Museum Collection in the World. He Was Portrayed in Orson Welles Film Masterpiece ‘Citizen Caine’.

A Beautiful, Original, 16th Cent. Italian Knight’s ‘Close’ Helmet From William Randolph Hearst’s Castle, San Simeon Formerly the Most Famous Private Museum Collection in the World. He Was Portrayed in Orson Welles Film Masterpiece ‘Citizen Caine’.

Although Orson Welles, possibly the greatest genius filmmaker Hollywood ever produced, hid the depiction of W.R. Hearst as the near despotic millionaire fictional character Charles Foster Caine, in his masterpiece, not a single person ever believed it not to be a depiction of Hearst, {least of all Hearst himself} thus, it resulted in Orson to be, possibly the first, movie star and director to be effectively ‘cancelled’, and his career henceforth was thus ruined and destroyed by Hearst’s media empire. Many believed, and some still do, this was the greatest tragedy to befall Hollywood film making in its 20th century history. Like the death of Mozart in his youthful prime, when mentioned, Orson Welles, is often followed by one of the saddest of remarks “what might have been?”.

A similar form of helmet is illustrated in the *treatise of René of Anjou, Duke of Anjou, Count of Provence, King of Jerusalem and Sicily. See picture of the similar helmet from the treatise in the gallery.

A fine original close helmet, probably Italian, with funerary face visor. Fine original brass rose head rivets. The front visor was adapted when the knight perished and this helm would have been mounted above his tomb with his achievements, in circa 1590, likely with his sword. Such as two other helmets *King Henry Vth (d. 1422), buried in Westminster Abbey. Set up over the dead king’s monument until the 20th century was his funerary helmet, a finely decorated jousting helm, now kept in the abbey museum.

Edward the Black Prince or Edward of Woodstock (15 June 1330 - 8 June 1376), eldest son of Edward III, King of England. Dating from 1376 his funerary visored helmet is to be found above his funerary monument in Canterbury Cathedral.

This helmet we offer is a stunning piece with amazing provenance, was owned by one of the greatest yet notorious men in world publishing history. William Randolph Hearst ( April 29, 1863 - August 14, 1951) was an American newspaper Mogul, a publisher who built the nation’s largest newspaper chain and whose methods profoundly influenced American journalism. His collecting took his agents around the Europe to acquire the finest treasures available, for his project of building the largest and finest private estate in the world, Hearst Castle in San Simeon. In much of this he succeeded. Hearst entered the publishing business in 1887 after taking control of The San Francisco Examiner from his father. Moving to New York City, he acquired The New York Journal and engaged in a bitter circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer's New York World that led to the creation of yellow journalism sensationalized stories of dubious veracity. Acquiring more newspapers, Hearst created a chain that numbered nearly 30 papers in major American cities at its peak. He later expanded to magazines, creating the largest newspaper and magazine business in the world.

He was twice elected as a Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives, and ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of New York City in 1905 and 1909, for Governor of New York in 1906, and for Lieutenant Governor of New York in 1910. Nonetheless, through his newspapers and magazines, he exercised enormous political influence, and was famously blamed for pushing public opinion with his yellow journalism type of reporting leading the United States into a war with Spain in 1898.

His life story was the main inspiration for the development of the lead character in Orson Welles's film Citizen Kane. His mansion, Hearst Castle, on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean near San Simeon, California, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, was donated by the Hearst Corporation to the state of California in 1957, and is now a State Historical Monument and a National Historic Landmark, open for public tours. Hearst formally named the estate La Cuesta Encantada (The Enchanted Slope), but he usually just called it the ranch. This helmet was acquired by Hearst for his mansion, Hearst Castle, but when his empire began to crumble much of his collection was sold at Gimbels In New York in 1941, which is where the Higgins Armory acquired this helmet. Orson Welles film, Citizen Kane, is thought by many to be one of the greatest masterpieces of film ever made, and it's portrayal of Charles Foster Kane was so mirroring WR Hearst that there was no doubt in any mind what it was meant to represent. So much so, Hearst dedicated some considerable time and effort during the next 10 years in order to destroy Orson Welles' career, and prevent him fulfilling his obvious potential as one of the greatest directors of all time. In much of this, once more, Hearst succeeded. Items from Hearst's collection rarely surface, as owners tend to keep hold of them for obvious reasons of historical posterity and provenance, and to be able to offer such a piece from that collection is a great privilege, and a rare opportunity for it's next fortunate owner.

*Ref; The saddle, helmet, sword and shield of King Henry V, which once formed part of his funeral 'achievements', are displayed in Westminster Abbey Museum, located in the abbey's eleventh century vaulted undercroft of St Peter. They were carried at his funeral in 1422 and later suspended on the wooden beam above the Henry V chantry for centuries, but in 1972 they were restored and placed in the abbey museum.
We show in the gallery an illustration from ‘Traictie de la Forme et Devis D'ung Tournoy’, that was written circa 1460 by King Rene of Anjou, King of Jerusalem and Sicily. The tournament book shows how a helmet, such as this one, would have been dressed for the tournament and it describes a style of tournament which Rene says he has adapted from the ancient customs of France and other countries.  read more

Code: 22346

8995.00 GBP

A Fine & Most Rare Viking Spear Head, Circa 900 A.D. Socket Mount With Rivet.

A Fine & Most Rare Viking Spear Head, Circa 900 A.D. Socket Mount With Rivet.

This may well be a pattern welded blade in the traditional 'Wolf's Teeth' form but the surface is too russetted to tell, however its shape is very similar to the most famous recovered 'Wolf's Teeth' Viking spear head in Helsinki Museum see gallery. According to the older parts of the Gulating Law, dating back to before the year 900 AD covering Western Norway, a free man was required to own a sword or ax, spear and shield. It was said that Olaf Tryggvason, King of Norway from 995-1000 AD, could throw two spears at the same time. In chapter 55 of Laxdaela saga, Helgi had a spear with a blade one ell long (about 50cm, or 20in). He thrust the blade through Bolli's shield, and through Bolli. In chapter 8 of Kroka-Refs saga, Refur made a spear for himself which could be used for cutting, thrusting, or hewing. Refur split Porgils in two down to his shoulders with the spear. The spearheads were made of iron, and, like sword blades, were made using pattern welding techniques (described in the article on swords) during the early part of the Viking era . They could be decorated with inlays of precious metals or with scribed geometric patterns
After forming the head, the smith flattened and drew out material to form the socket . This material was formed around a mandrel and usually was welded to form a solid socket. In some cases, the overlapping portions were left unwelded. Spear heads were fixed to wooden shafts using a rivet. The sockets on the surviving spear heads suggest that the shafts were typically round, with a diameter of 2-3cm (about one inch).

However, there is little evidence that tells us the length of the shaft. The archaeological evidence is negligible, and the sagas are, for the most part, silent. Chapter 6 of Gisla saga tells of a spear so long-shafted that a man's outstretched arm could touch the rivet. The language used suggests that such a long shaft was uncommon.

Perhaps the best guess we can make is that the combined length of shaft and head of Viking age spears was 2 to 3m (7-10ft) long, although one can make arguments for the use of spears having both longer and shorter shafts. A strong, straight-grained wood such as ash was used. Many people think of the spear as a throwing weapon. One of the Norse myths tells the story of the first battle in the world, in which Odin, the highest of the gods, threw a spear over the heads of the opposing combatants as a prelude to the fight. The sagas say that spears were also thrown in this manner when men, rather than gods, fought. At the battle at Geirvor described in chapter 44 of Eyrbyggja saga, the saga author says that Steinporr threw a spear over the heads of Snorri gooi and his men for good luck, according to the old custom. More commonly, the spear was used as a thrusting weapon. The sagas tell us thrusting was the most common attack in melees and one-on-one fighting, and this capability was used to advantage in mass battles. In a mass battle, men lined up, shoulder to shoulder, with shields overlapping. After all the preliminaries, which included rock throwing, name calling, the trading of insults, and shouting a war cry (aepa herop), the two lines advanced towards each other. When the lines met, the battle was begun. Behind the wall of shields, each line was well protected. Once a line was broken, and one side could pass through the line of the other side, the battle broke down into armed melees between small groups of men.

Before either line broke, while the two lines were going at each other hammer and tongs, the spear offered some real advantages. A fighter in the second rank could use his spear to reach over the heads of his comrades in the first rank and attack the opposing line. Konungs skuggsja (King's Mirror), a 13th century Norwegian manual for men of the king, says that in the battle line, a spear is more effective than two swords. In regards to surviving iron artefacts of the past two millennia, if Western ancient edged weapons were either lost, discarded or buried in the ground, and if the ground soil were made up of the right chemical composition, then some may survive exceptionally well. As with all our items it comes complete with our certificate of authenticity. 11.5 inches long. Almost every iron weapon that has survived today from this era is now in a fully russetted condition, as is this one, because only the swords of kings, that have been preserved in national or Royal collections are today still in a good state and condition.  read more

Code: 23045

675.00 GBP

A Most Elegant Equestrian Walking Stick Cum Dandy Cane

A Most Elegant Equestrian Walking Stick Cum Dandy Cane

Finely carved handle of a horses hoof and fetlock. The stick is a superb close grain hardwood. Overall in super condition. Every other portrait of a Georgian, Victorian, or Edwardian gentleman, shows some nattily dressed fellow with a walking stick pegged jauntily into the ground or a slim baton negligently tucked under the elbow. The dress cane was the quintessential mark of the dandy for three centuries, part fashion accessory, part aid to communication, part weapon, and of course, a walking aid. A dandy, historically, is a man who places particular importance upon physical appearance, refined language, and leisurely hobbies, pursued with the appearance of nonchalance in a cult of self. A dandy could be a self-made man who strove to imitate an aristocratic lifestyle despite coming from a middle-class background, especially in late 18th- and early 19th-century Britain.

Previous manifestations of the petit-maitre (French for "small master") and the Muscadin have been noted by John C. Prevost, but the modern practice of dandyism first appeared in the revolutionary 1790s, both in London and in Paris. The dandy cultivated cynical reserve, yet to such extremes that novelist George Meredith, himself no dandy, once defined cynicism as "intellectual dandyism". Some took a more benign view; Thomas Carlyle wrote in Sartor Resartus that a dandy was no more than "a clothes-wearing man". Honore De Balzac introduced the perfectly worldly and unmoved Henri de Marsay in La fille aux yeux d'or (1835), a part of La Comedie Humaine, who fulfils at first the model of a perfect dandy, until an obsessive love-pursuit unravels him in passionate and murderous jealousy.

Charles Baudelaire defined the dandy, in the later "metaphysical" phase of dandyism, as one who elevates esthetics to a living religion, that the dandy's mere existence reproaches the responsible citizen of the middle class: "Dandyism in certain respects comes close to spirituality and to stoicism" and "These beings have no other status, but that of cultivating the idea of beauty in their own persons, of satisfying their passions, of feeling and thinking Dandyism is a form of Romanticism. Contrary to what many thoughtless people seem to believe, dandyism is not even an excessive delight in clothes and material elegance. For the perfect dandy, these things are no more than the symbol of the aristocratic superiority of mind."

The linkage of clothing with political protest had become a particularly English characteristic during the 18th century. Given these connotations, dandyism can be seen as a political protest against the levelling effect of egalitarian principles, often including nostalgic adherence to feudal or pre-industrial values, such as the ideals of "the perfect gentleman" or "the autonomous aristocrat". Paradoxically, the dandy required an audience, as Susann Schmid observed in examining the "successfully marketed lives" of Oscar Wilde and Lord Byron, who exemplify the dandy's roles in the public sphere, both as writers and as personae providing sources of gossip and scandal. Nigel Rodgers in The Dandy: Peacock or Enigma? Questions Wilde's status as a genuine dandy, seeing him as someone who only assumed a dandified stance in passing, not a man dedicated to the exacting ideals of dandyism. 36.5 inches long  read more

Code: 23211

275.00 GBP

Original 18th Century Scottish Fencible Regimental Basket Hilted Broadsword

Original 18th Century Scottish Fencible Regimental Basket Hilted Broadsword

With distinctive two part centrally welded basket, in sheet iron, with scrolls and thistles there over. Interesting original regimental swords of the 18th century, from Scottish regiments are very much sought after throughout the entire world. Scottish Fencible Regiment's swords are now jolly rare indeed, and they are highly distinctive in their most unique form. Fancy carved replacement grip. Some ironwork separation on the basket by the forte of the blade, but overall in good sound condition. Overall natural age surface pitting. Made for the war with Revolutionary France in the 1790's. The total number of British fencible infantry regiments raised during the Seven Years' War and the American War of Independence was nine, of which six were Scottish, two were English and one was Manx. The regiments were raised during a time of great turbulence in Europe when there was a real fear that the French would either invade Great Britain or Ireland, or that radicals within Britain and Ireland would rebel against the established order. There was little to do in Britain other than garrison duties and some police actions, but in Ireland there was a French supported insurrection in 1798 and British fencible regiments were engaged in some pitched battles. Some regiments served outside Great Britain and Ireland. Several regiments performed garrison duties on the Channel Islands and Gibraltar. A detachment of the Dumbarton Fencibles Regiment escorted prisoners to Prussia, and the Ancient Irish Fencibles were sent to Egypt where they took part in the operations against the French in 1801.

When it became clear that the rebellion in Ireland had been defeated and that there would be peace between France and Britain in 1802 (The preliminaries of peace were signed in London on 1 October 1801) the Fencible regiments were disbanded.
The British cavalry and light dragoon regiments were raised to serve in any part of Great Britain and consisted of a force of between 14,000 and 15,000 men. Along with the two Irish regiments, those British regiments that volunteered for service in Ireland served there. Each regiment consisted of eighteen commissioned officers and troops of eighty privates per troop. The regiments were always fully manned as their terms of service were considered favourable. At the beginning of 1800 all of the regiments were disbanded  read more

Code: 20632

2750.00 GBP