Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Duelling in 18th Century England Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Ingela H.




Location: Beautiful British Columbia, Canada
Joined: 12 Aug 2004

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu 12 Aug, 2004 5:59 pm    Post subject: Duelling in 18th Century England         Reply with quote

Greetings,

I'm a historical romance writer (I'm sure some of you guys are rolling your eyes right now), and though I write romance I have a passion for history, therefore I strive for historical accuracy whenever possible.

I was wondering if anyone could tell me if they know what the rules were for duelling (using rapiers or small swords) between nobles during the 18th Century England? I know there were seconds, etc... But I want to know what in general did they do? I read something about First Touch (first blood drawn), Second Touch (until the combatants are quite bloody, and are satisfied that honour has been restored) and Third Touch (which is death or surrender) Is this correct?

If someone could please help, I would much appreciate it. And will also include a mention of you in my book.

Thanks so much. I love the website, as I am big into swords, knives and daggers (started my own collection when I was 15).

Ingela H.
Worried
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Joel Chesser




Location: Oklahoma
Joined: 23 Oct 2003

Posts: 714

PostPosted: Thu 12 Aug, 2004 6:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Welcome. I know very little about duels admittedly, though I have taken some fencing, and have read a little. As I understand it duels were really not very formal affairs, it was kind of an "in the moment thing". They also were not very clean affairs, in one account two men fought and ended up rolling around on the ground stabbing each other until they died. I'm not sure what kind of romance you are writing and who the characters are, I write adventure myself, but there is a woman in the 1670s who was an actress, she started an affair with a fencing master who taught her. Apparently she dueled and killed three men after an argument at a ball, later she retired to become a mistress of the Elector of Bavaria.
This information can be seen in "Swords and Hilt weapons" a Barns and Noble published book, on page 70.
I don't know if that helps any, but feel free to ask if you have anymore questions and I will do what I can to answer. I'm sure that some others with far greater knowledge will also put in a few words. Good luck with the novel.

..." The person who dosen't have a sword should sell his coat and buy one."

- Luke 22:36


Last edited by Joel Chesser on Fri 13 Aug, 2004 1:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message
Allen Johnson





Joined: 26 Aug 2003
Reading list: 29 books

Posts: 198

PostPosted: Thu 12 Aug, 2004 10:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Theres a great story from the Dewar Manuscripts that takes place after Culloden, Scotland in 1746. There were a number of Jacobite prisoners being held and one of the English leader remarked on the pitiful looking state and said something to the effect of what kind of fool would have these kind of men as his soldiers. One of the Scottish Hanoverian officers said these were really great swordsmen and their look was on account of them being starved and ill equipped. A wager was made that the English officer would select a swordsman from his company to callenge one of the Jacobite prisoners of the Scottish Officers choosing to fight to the death. If the Highlander won, all of that group of prisoners would be free to go home. If the Englishman won, the Scottish Hanoverian officer would owe him 12 bottles of wine. Two men were chosen. The English fighter was a big strong guy and the Jacobite was a short, lithe man. The two set to fighting and after a few passes the Jacobite killed the Englishman and the prisoners were freed.
View user's profile Send private message
R. Laine




Location: Peru
Joined: 28 Oct 2003

Posts: 106

PostPosted: Thu 12 Aug, 2004 10:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ingela,

Welcome to myArmoury. You might find this article useful. I don't know if you are interested in such, but Zach Wylde's fencing manual from 1711, "The English Master of Defence", is a rather good read as well if you are interested in the fencing techniques themselves. The text covers smallswords, backswords, staves and also contains short instructions on unarmed combat.

Best wishes,
Rabbe

Edit: Damn HTML code... Hopefully those links work now.


Last edited by R. Laine on Fri 13 Aug, 2004 10:25 am; edited 6 times in total
View user's profile Send private message
Jonathon Janusz





Joined: 20 Nov 2003

Posts: 467

PostPosted: Fri 13 Aug, 2004 6:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

from the recommended reading section of the ARMA web site:

"The Art of Dueling"
The Richmond Publishing Co. Ltd. 1971. Cloth. Fine/Very Good. First Thus. ISBN: 85546 158 6. Originally printed in 1836. 70pp. Author's name unknown. A practical guide to the art, etiquette and general institution of dueling "that will sufficiently educate the raw youth in the practice, to enable him to accept a challenge and take the field on equal terms with a skilled antagonist". Includes an appendix giving accounts of dueling and invitations to duel by the likes of the Duke of Wellington.

Another bit of lore to which I can not for my life remember my source. For a time the sash as an article of clothing had been a popular accessory in Spain. Further, the Spanish sash was described as broad and in length enough to wrap around the torso twice with ends enough to reach to the wearer's knee or slightly below. I had read an account of the practice of combatants wearing these sashes, made in white fabrics, and tucking the ends into the top of a boot to secure the thing while fighting. The reason for this configuration being that while dueling one could use the sash as a means to "keep score". The duelist would clean the blade of his weapon on the sash after each successful strike. If done deliberately and smoothly, the duelist could use the blood of his opponent to make tally marks on the sash which would serve to count the "touches" similar to those you suggest made during the duel.

hope this helps and best wishes in writing the book!
View user's profile Send private message
R. Laine




Location: Peru
Joined: 28 Oct 2003

Posts: 106

PostPosted: Fri 13 Aug, 2004 10:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, and by the way; not all duels (ie. less formal ones) would be bound by rules similar to those mentioned in the article I posted above, as you can propably guess; the typical "shall-we-step-outside" variety of single combat would naturally not always feature seconds or such. *g* The article Dubious Quick Kill might, which can be found at http://www.classicalfencing.com/articles.shtml might also be of interest to you (I gave up trying to make those cool texty-linky-thingies after the struggle with my earlier post...).

Rabbe
View user's profile Send private message
Ingela H.




Location: Beautiful British Columbia, Canada
Joined: 12 Aug 2004

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri 13 Aug, 2004 11:04 am    Post subject: Thank you all for your help!         Reply with quote

Greetings,

Wow! I want to thank you all for your replies to my inquiry. Did you know, I e-mailed several websites on the topic and didn't hear from a single one? I'm so glad I joined myArmoury.com. I can see you guys will be of great help.

Rabbe , I will definitely take a look at the articles you mentioned, they sound exactly what I'm looking for. Thank you so very much.

Jonathon, that was very interesting concerning the sashes in Spanish Duels. I may look into that for the future.

Allen, I LOVE the story you related from the Dewar Manuscripts. That is exactly the kind of thing that fires a Historical Romance writer's imagination (at least this one anyway). I will have to look into it, as I love Scotland and its history.

And thank you Joel , your story of a female duelist is very exciting. I will have to check that out as well. I love strong, but feminine characters. I collect books, and will have to look into Swords and Hilt weapons. I do have The Sword and the Centuries by Alfred Hutton, originally published in 1901. He has many great examples of duels, etc.., but no rules.

Anyway, thank you all for your help. If anyone else has more info to share, please feel free, as I am a research hound. <g>

If I use the info any of you provided, do you mind if I mention your name in the acknowledgements of my book(s)?

Ingela H. Happy


View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 5,685

PostPosted: Fri 13 Aug, 2004 12:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Ingela, and welcome to myArmoury.

My wife *loves* historical romances by the way Big Grin

Another book that you may want to look for is The Art and History of Personal Combat by Arthur Wise. It provides a pretty good overview of the subject. Some of the comments made concerning medieval swordsmanship are very dated, and misinformed. However, the information concerning the later methods is very good.

It's long out of print so you'll have to try the local library.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
View user's profile Send private message
Matthew Kelty





Joined: 22 Jun 2004
Reading list: 61 books

Posts: 164

PostPosted: Fri 13 Aug, 2004 12:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would also highly recommend Christoph Amberger's "Secret History of the Sword".

At the very least, go peruse his site at http://www.swordhistory.com/home.html

Being that he comes from the Classical fencing background, he starts a lot closer to the era you're after (post-Reformation/Georgian) than many of us (Medieval-Renaissance), and shares a wealth of historical data not usually seen in other places. Start with the website, but get that book... Happy

Additionally, I would recommend you take a look at Vincentio Saviolo's second treatise, "Of Honor and Honorable Quarrels" It was written in 1595 and discusses the various challenges ('giving the lie'), and protocols.

It looks like the only person to ever post a textual translation has yanked it, and all I've got is the 33 Meg PDF. If you are interested, I'll see if I can extract the second book, and post it somewhere for you to fetch.

Here Christoph Amberger discusses Saviolo's work (among others) and offers an overview:

http://ejmas.com/jwma/articles/2002/jwmaart_amberger_1002.htm

Lastly, while primarily dedicated to the Stage Combatant, there is an excellent (albeit, brief) overview of Civilian Duels in the Introduction of "Methods and Practice of Elizabethan Swordplay" by Craig Turner and Tony Soper.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-hand...56-0376824

It's essentially an overview of three period fencing masters, and if you're not too interested in those topics, it's probably not worth the $30.00 it sells for, but it has been published for many years, and you might find a copy in your Library.

Good luck, hope this helps,
Matthew
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Andy Bain




Location: Surrey, BC, Canada
Joined: 24 Aug 2003

Posts: 119

PostPosted: Fri 13 Aug, 2004 12:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't have any helpful info to add, but it is nice to see another Canuck on the forum. Happy Welcome.
View user's profile Send private message
Nate C.




Location: Palo Alto, CA
Joined: 13 Jun 2004

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 301

PostPosted: Fri 13 Aug, 2004 3:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Thank you all for your help!         Reply with quote

Ingela H. wrote:

...And thank you Joel , your story of a female duelist is very exciting. I will have to check that out as well. I love strong, but feminine characters...


Ingela,

First of all, welcome to myArmoury! I would recommend "By the Sword: A History of Gladiators, Musketeers, Samurai, Swashbucklers, and Olympic Champions" by Richard A. Cohen. I haven't finished it yet, but it has been very informative. It even mentions the aforementioned duelist (Julie d'Audigny?) but if what's in the book about her is true, "feminine" is not a term I would use for her.

Happy hunting,

Nate C.

Sapere Aude
"If you are going to kill the man, at least give him a decent salute." - A. Blansitt

If they ever come up with a Swashbuckling School, I think one of the courses should be Laughing, then Jumping Off Something. --Jack Handy
View user's profile Send private message
R. Laine




Location: Peru
Joined: 28 Oct 2003

Posts: 106

PostPosted: Fri 13 Aug, 2004 10:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Thank you all for your help!         Reply with quote

Quote:
I haven't finished it yet, but it has been very informative. It even mentions the aforementioned duelist (Julie d'Audigny?) but if what's in the book about her is true, "feminine" is not a term I would use for her.


Yep, that's her. One of the numerous In Ferro Veritas articles ( http://www.classicalfencing.com/articles/LAMAUPINMAG.shtm l) gives a *very* interesting overview of her story.
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Duelling in 18th Century England
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum