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Brian Moffatt




Location: Scotland
Joined: 03 Nov 2007

Posts: 23

PostPosted: Thu 18 Nov, 2010 7:44 am    Post subject: "Irish Hilts"         Reply with quote

Hello from Scotland,
I'm doing some research on what are commonly called "Irish Hilts", those simple straight forward basket hilts of the late 16th early 17th century, and am coming up against a bit of a brick wall with regard to this type of hilt in the USA,
What we lack in Britain are exact archeological contexts to date these hilts by. But on your side of the water you have a good number of sites in Virginia....Jamestown...."Jordan's Journey.....Flowerdew hundred...etc which have produced good early hilts, many of them "Lowland Scots" ( ? ) from dateable contexts. (plus of course the "Sea Venture")
Does anyone know...... Has anyone collated and published all of the US information yet? We could move the history of these hilts on much further if they did so.
Any good information would be much appreciated.
All the Best,
Brian Moffatt
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GG Osborne





Joined: 21 Mar 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 474

PostPosted: Thu 18 Nov, 2010 8:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Brian....the short answer is "no." There is no coordinated agency that could take responsibility. The Jamestowne site is owned by the National Park Service and the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities. Several early hilts are on display at the NPS museum at Jamestowne and one or two at the APVA museum on the adjacent site. Colonial Williamsburg ownes the Martin's Hundred site and Flowerdew Hundred is owned (I think) by the State of Virginia. See the problem? The last attempt at cataloging early American arms and armor was Harold Peterson's Arms and Armor in Colonial America but that reference is well-dated now and does not take into account any of the more recent discoveries. It mainly relies on items extant in collections for a long while including the material collected from the NPS excavations at Jamestowne in the 1950s. Interestingly, the basket hilts all seem to be from Virginia excavations. I am not aware of any found further north in Massachusetts or New England for example. There are one or two plates in A&ACA that may be of interest and would date from c.1610-1630 or so. There was quite a bit of "Scottish" material found at Jamestowne. A very early Scottish pistol was recovered from a well. A targe and a dirk. All of the hilts I have seen were either early basket hilts or rapier hilts. Sorry couldn't help more! Glenn
"Those who live by the sword...will usually die with a huge, unpaid credit card balance!"
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Karl Schlesien





Joined: 15 Sep 2010

Posts: 54

PostPosted: Fri 19 Nov, 2010 4:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
"There was quite a bit of "Scottish" material found at Jamestowne. A very early Scottish pistol was recovered from a well. A targe and a dirk"


Do you know are there picture of the targe from the Jamestowne site?
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GG Osborne





Joined: 21 Mar 2006

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Posts: 474

PostPosted: Fri 19 Nov, 2010 9:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No. As far as I know there isn't one published. The APVA is being very non-productive with printed material and one cannot photograph anything in their museum. The last time I was there, the targe was displayed but I don't know how often or if the displays are rotated.
"Those who live by the sword...will usually die with a huge, unpaid credit card balance!"
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Brian Moffatt




Location: Scotland
Joined: 03 Nov 2007

Posts: 23

PostPosted: Sat 20 Nov, 2010 2:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks folks,
You seem to have the same problems over there that we have in the UK. There is a marked reluctance on the part of the archeologists and museum professionals to allow good photography of their collections. It is usually claimed that this is for copyright reasons. Although public money is running the entire set up, very little of what is in the collections is freely available in the public domain. One can perhaps understand this outlook with the private collector, who may be reliant upon his own publications for finance, but where public money is has been involved it is somewhat harder to justify.
The largest hoards of weapons, are to be found in the basements and reserve collections of our major museums! (I speak from many years of experience) If only we could gain free access to those, or if they were to be photographed and put on line, then the study of arms and armour would move forward hugely. Frankly since we moved into the age of digital photography, I don't know just why this has not happened. Your site now has one of the best databases around. Keep up the good work! All the Best,
Brian Moffatt
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Karl Schlesien





Joined: 15 Sep 2010

Posts: 54

PostPosted: Sun 21 Nov, 2010 8:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Was this the piece of buckler/targe seen at Jametowne?

"This is a dome-shaped central boss from a small leather hand-held shield known as a buckler. It was found in the Bulwark Trench of James Fort. Sword and buckler fighting was no longer practiced in England at the time of the Jamestown settlement. The colonists probably found the buckler useful in the type of hand-to-hand fighting they engaged in with the Indians."



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Brian Moffatt




Location: Scotland
Joined: 03 Nov 2007

Posts: 23

PostPosted: Sun 21 Nov, 2010 11:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

An interesting footnote on Virginia finds which I came across whilst researching "Jacks". This refers to Jacks recorded in the Royal Armouries at the Tower of London. "The last occasion on which they were issued was apparently 1622 when one hundred were granted to the Virginia Company, together with other arms "All of which are not only old and much decayed but with their age growne also unfit and of no use for moderne service" (Acts of the Privy Council of England, 1621-3. p 299; and "Lord Sackville's Papers relating to the Virginia Company", The American Historical Review, Vol V11. No.3. 1922. pp. 503-5)
This is from the Journal of the Arms and Armour Society Vol. X111. No. 2. September, 1989. which contains the only good article I know of on the subject of "jacks". It was written by Ian Eaves who knows more about armour than anyone else I know.
So..... the finds from Virginia ought perhaps to be treated with caution, as some at least of the arms and armour was obsolete when issued.
For those interested in jacks, the one from Langlee in that article listed as English in the Royal Armouries, is probably Scots, and is exactly what your well turned out Border Reiver would be wearing. Don't bother looking for anything else at Langlee..... I've already been..... That Jack and another were acquired from there in 1952, the house is now modern housing, and no-one now seems to know anything at all about any collection that may or may not have ben there!
If you want some interesting speculation though, just two miles south of Langlee, is the site of "Old Jedburgh" (try NLS Maps 6inch to mile OS series). There are no smiths recorded in Jedburgh, (Whitelaw Scottish Arms Makers) which is a bit of a mystery, but no-one has looked at "Old Jedburgh", which has almost faded to a "folk memory". It was established pre 885 A.D. and was still on Stobie's map of 1770. The Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments have promised me that they will have a closer look at the site, but not to hold my breath for when. Currently its written off as a site of very little importance, but if you superimpose Stobie's map of 1770 on the Google Satellite image it is possible to see that that opinion is far from the truth.
Those who admire the "Jeddart Axe/Staff" may like to think on that. There was certainly metalworking there as a smithyfordpath is shown on the OS Maps of the late 19th century.
Hope this is all of interest to you.
Brian Moffatt.
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