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Chris Goerner




Location: Roanoke, Virginia
Joined: 19 Sep 2004
Likes: 14 pages

Posts: 350

PostPosted: Tue 22 Oct, 2019 5:58 pm    Post subject: Virginia Grenadier Hanger         Reply with quote

I recently returned to colonial reenacting after a several year hiatus. And so, I found myself back in the market for a Revolutionary War era sword. I found one in a French model 1767 reproduction hanger that was retailed by G. Gedney Godwin back in the 1960's-70's. The sword had a one-piece cast brass hilt that was actually pretty nice, but the blade was a 28" straight blade that was more crowbar than sword blade. Completely wrong for this sword.

As I researched the correct blade from photos of originals, I found that Governor Patrick Henry had commissioned swords with model 1767 hilts for Virginia troops. There was a "Virginia Grenadier" sword with a 26 1/2" unfullered blade, and an artillery version that had a somewhat shorter blade. Interestingly, both versions of the sword had blades with a yelman tip.

The swords were issued to Virginia Militia troops in 1780 as the war came to the south in earnest. It is unknown who exactly these swords were issued to. By this time, private soldiers were not issued swords. It may have been that they were issued to sergeants or even officers. One article I read mentioned a Virginia Militia artillery officer captured at the battle of Guilford Courthouse wearing one of the French made swords.

I contacted G. Gedney Godwin to see if I could purchase one of their unfullered blades from them. Drew was very obliging, and I received my bare blade and scabbard last week. I needed to shorten the blade to the 26 1/2" length, reshape the tang to fit the curve of the hilt, and re-thread the tang. Below are photos of the end result.

The sword is not a perfect reproduction of the Virginia Grenadier hangers. As mentioned, my hilt was cast in one piece, while the originals were cast in two. Also, my blade lacks the yelman and engraving that the originals had. But for a $220 investment, I am more than please with the final result.

I am most impressed with the feel of the hilt. I have owned swords of higher quality (and much higher price) but none have felt as good in the hand as this one.

If anyone else has a model 1767 hanger, original or reproduction, I would love to see photos and hear your thoughts on this weapon.



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And one with my British 1751 hanger, also a Godwin reproduction and of the same vintage. [ Download ]

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Chris Goerner




Location: Roanoke, Virginia
Joined: 19 Sep 2004
Likes: 14 pages

Posts: 350

PostPosted: Tue 22 Oct, 2019 6:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Attached are some photos of original Virginia Grenadier swords.


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Virginia sword.jpg


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Grenadier hanger top, Artillery model below [ Download ]

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Michael Beeching





Joined: 22 Jan 2014
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 204

PostPosted: Tue 22 Oct, 2019 7:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've never heard of G. Gedney Godwin before, but I'm always interested in learning more about makers of reproduction arms. Are the swords functional? Namely, are they properly heat treated, or are they principally intended to be used as costume arms for reenactors? Next, where are they manufactured? All of their arms seem quite affordable, so I'm guessing a lot of the stuff is imported given the price point.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue 22 Oct, 2019 10:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Beeching wrote:
I've never heard of G. Gedney Godwin before, but I'm always interested in learning more about makers of reproduction arms. Are the swords functional? Namely, are they properly heat treated, or are they principally intended to be used as costume arms for reenactors? Next, where are they manufactured? All of their arms seem quite affordable, so I'm guessing a lot of the stuff is imported given the price point.


We have a review of one of G. Gedney Godwin's pieces:
http://myArmoury.com/review_ggg_ss.html

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Michael Beeching





Joined: 22 Jan 2014
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 204

PostPosted: Wed 23 Oct, 2019 9:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan,

Thank you for the link. I'd not seen that before.
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Chris Goerner




Location: Roanoke, Virginia
Joined: 19 Sep 2004
Likes: 14 pages

Posts: 350

PostPosted: Wed 23 Oct, 2019 10:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Beeching wrote:
I've never heard of G. Gedney Godwin before, but I'm always interested in learning more about makers of reproduction arms. Are the swords functional? Namely, are they properly heat treated, or are they principally intended to be used as costume arms for reenactors? Next, where are they manufactured? All of their arms seem quite affordable, so I'm guessing a lot of the stuff is imported given the price point.


"Functional" is a relative term Wink My blade is heat treated and that seems to have been done well. The tang is integral to the blade (not welded on). However, the blade has absolutely no distal taper and is noticeably forward heavy. These swords are primarily meant as costume pieces, but I would feel very confident cutting with my sword.

As to where they are made, I cannot say. Godwin has a budget line of swords listed on the website as "made in India." They are lesser quality than their standard offerings, making me think the majority of their swords may be made in the US, but I don't know that for a fact.

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