Vince Evans Basket-hilted Saber
Original: Scottish, circa 1690; blade likely German, dated 1662
Located at Boughton House
, a Northamptonshire home of the Dukes of Buccleuch and Queensberry in England, is a fine basket-hilted saber (claidheamh-crom
). Its hilt dates to around 1690 and is of Glasgow type
, a relatively standardized form first manufactured in the late 17th century. These hilts are characterized as having wide flattened rectangular bars and side-plates pierced with a motif consisting of some variation of hearts and circles. The sword's blade is a curved single-edged design with etched and gilded Latin mottos, classical iconography, and a dated inscription reading Anno Domini 1662
The sword featured here has a fully developed basket-hilt of Highland type with heavily fluted bars and cusped file-worked edges. The outer and inner shields each possess pierced designs of stylized hearts formed from conjoined circles and rectangles. The grip is ray skin, spirally fluted and bound with a double strand of twisted wire. The side-guards are pierced similarly to the hilt's shields and terminate in prominent ram's horns
There are some notable differences between the Boughton House hilt and the modern inspired creation. The pommel is of a more conical shape than the flattened bun-shape found on the original and the forward guards are of the same fluted ribbon shape as the side knuckle-guards. A small wrist-guard has been added here but the leather liner of the antique has not been recreated.
The single-edged blade is curved and has two wide fullers extending its entire length. The last 19 inches of the spine have been ground down to create a semi-sharpened false edge. A Passau running wolf
is present alongside a maker's mark within the fuller on one side. There is no etching or gilding as found on the antique sword.
Scottish basket-hilted swords with curved saber blades are much less commonly found than those of the broadsword or backsword variant. The portrait of Alastair Mhor Grant
, Champion of Clan Grant, painted in 1714 by Richard Wait depicts such a sword. Basket-hilts with curved blades are often described as being in the Turkish style
or more specifically are called a Turk
The scabbard is leather-covered hardwood with nickel silver mounts and includes a belt-hook.
Overall length: 36.875"
Weight: 2.75 pounds
Width of guard: 4.5"
Blade: 31.25" long; 1.125" wide tapering to .75"
Grip and pommel: 5.75" long
Point of Balance (PoB): 3.5" from guard
Center of Percussion (CoP): ~21" from guard
Maker: Vince Evans
This piece is inspired by a sword from the collection of the Duke of Buccleuch at the Boughton House with a hilt from circa 1690 and a blade dated 1662.