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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Mon 15 Nov, 2004 1:28 pm    Post subject: Albion Kern Axe Update         Reply with quote

Here's the original thread:
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...n+kern+axe

It bothered me that I could never find any historic polearm that resembled this axe. The Dürer drawing is suspect for several reasons (possibly drawn from secondhand description,) the Osprey illustrations are clear but undocumented, and in all the books I've searched I never found a weapon quite like Albion's Kern Axe. I determined haft length by feel. Then I stumbled across a photo of a modern Tower of London Yeoman Gaoler, who traditionally carries an axe rather than the partizan carried by Yeoman Warders. Other photos of the YG show the same weapon, whose form presumably dates to the era of the rest of the YW/YG kit (mid-late 16th c.). Judge for yourself. The photos below are of a YG with his traditional axe and me with my Albion axe (see the thread above for discussion of my choice of haft length). If any of you happen to have better images of the YG axe or similar polearms, I'd love to see 'em.



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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Patrik Erik Lars Lindblom




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PostPosted: Mon 15 Nov, 2004 5:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Big Grin That must be a very small Beefeater, 5' Big Grin
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Mon 15 Nov, 2004 6:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Your legs are sexier Sean Big Grin
"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Mon 15 Nov, 2004 7:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And you've never even seen ME in red hose. Eek!

As for scale, I'm 6'1", my axe is 5'3" and it's anybody's guess about the Yeoman Gaoler. I figure his axe is probably somewhere between 6' and 6'5"--closer to what's recorded for Gallowglass in the mid-late 16th c.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Matthew Kelty





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PostPosted: Tue 16 Nov, 2004 10:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While not attributed to the Irish, a similar weapon from the Continent:

http://www.gmartin-auctions.com/forgett/lot.a...Pictures=4

European goose-wing axe, 16'' blade mounted on later 24'' handle
The blade struck with makers mark (center star surrounded by five stars within a shield), and numerous other marks including a star surrounded by punch marks, and a variation of the ''tree of life.''

* Possibly Austrian 15th to 18th century. Condition: Very good for age, showing exfoliation and signs of use. Note: CF. Axes of War and Power, J.D. Gamble, 2002, (where several of these marks are illustrated)
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 16 Nov, 2004 10:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Many thanks for that, Matthew! That does seem to be in the same general family, with the elongated point seen on some other European axes (there are a few of these shorter, apparently lighter axes, including this one http://www.myArmoury.com/albums/photo/4302.html in the myArmoury.com albums). The ID of the one you linked to as "possibly Austrian 15th to 18th century" suggests that it was a long-lived and geographically widespread form. This also gives me a new search term--"Goose Wing Axe." Every scrap of such info helps document reproduction arms and armour. In fact, I've just searched with this term and found more of these, most in the form of very short tools rather than purpose-built, long-hafted weapons.
I wish I could find some cross-section specs and/or other basic stats on a few martial axes of this type....

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Matthew Kelty





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PostPosted: Tue 16 Nov, 2004 10:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You're welcome. Don't know if it crossed your mind already or not, but I'd go after the biliographic reference cited, 'Axes of War and Power', James Douglas Gamble:

Looks like it's an Independent pressing (i.e. not on Amazon): http://www.eriksedge.com/AxeBook.html
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Tue 16 Nov, 2004 11:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Sean

I posted this plate, awhile back, in a thread I did about the artwork of McIntyre North
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...t=mcintyre
, and it features a couple of polearms that are along the lines of the Kern !

Thought you might find it interesting, Mac

Plate 50

The axes known as the Lochaber axes had their Keltic representatives in the axes shown on plates 5 & 7, and a crushing retort was often delivered by the Mace (plate 9).

A monument, supposed to commemorate the murder of King Malcolm, shows two figures joining hands, and with axes in the other, very much like the Lochaber axes at Blair Castle (pp).

They were first mentioned being used by the Scots in 1388. froissart describes them as with a long shaft, with a blade larger than an axe, and shorter than a sword, with a hook behind it ; and, describing the battle of Neville's Cross, he says, "The Scottes had great axes, sharpe and hard, and gaue with them many great strokes" . The Highlanders attacked King Robert Bruce with Lochaber axes with great effect at Dalree.

The Lord of the Isles made an attack at the battle of Harlaw with men armed with swords, fitted to cut & thrust, poleaxes (afterwards called Lochaber axes), bows & arrows, short knives, and round bucklers, formed of wood and strong hides, with bosses of brass or iron.

An ancient statute of William, King of Scotland (1165), says : --"Concerning those presenting themselves to serve in war, and whoever has less than 40 shillings' worth of land, shall be armed with a gisarum, which is called a hand bill (habeat gysarum quod dicitur, hand bill), and bow and arrows" (qq).

The various shapes of the Highland and other battle axes are shown on plates 47 and 50 (rr), and can speak for themselves, as they have done before in many a hard-fought field.

* (pp) See also plate 5 .
* (qq) Meyick
* (rr) The weapons on plate 50 are drawn to half the size of the others, on account of their size. The axe in the centre is a "Jeddart" axe. Fig. C is modern, from a design by Logan for the C.T.H.


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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 16 Nov, 2004 11:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, Mac! That's a wonderful thread...I don't know how I missed it. I think there must be some connection between the Irish and Scottish axes beyond just a common Viking ancestor. Surely, there was ongoing exchange of axe forms over the centuries...(?) I was looking at the Kern axe just this week and wondering how it would look with a hook welded to the top or back of the socket. I won't be doing that anytime soon, if ever, but I think the resulting weapon might resemble a proto-Lochaber.

Matthew: I think I need to get a copy of that book. I can recommend this one:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem...eName=WDVW

It's a good, basic introduction to the subject, and you can't beat the price!

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Matthew Kelty





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PostPosted: Tue 16 Nov, 2004 2:16 pm    Post subject: Beware the lure of Ebay.... :)         Reply with quote

Sean, thank you. I've been eying that company's publications for several years, and have just needed to crack open the wallet. To any who aren't aware, there is a publishing firm out of Canada that specializes in the little books on specific weapons and eras. This title is available directly from the publisher at a lower price than the EBay listing, and there are many more to boot.

Here is a link to the Historical Arms series:

http://www.servicepub.com/mrshas.html

BTW, Mac, what was the book that that drawing came out of? It's gorgeous!

I'm also curious as to the terminology in that book. To me, the center piece is classified as a Bill (admittedly, with a bit of a fantastic flourish on the back side), the piece in the one o'clock position is the classic 'Lochaber' or 'Lochabre' axe, which I thought all had that very distinct "letter d" profile.

The pieces at 10 and 2 o'clock (and mostly in the bottom center) I've usually seen typified as Bardiches (although the hook was a distinctly Scottish and commonplace feature, and they're missing the deep cutouts of the typical Continental Bardiche), and the 'Jedburg' or 'Jeddart' axe in it's primitive form is the piece is in top 11 o'clock position, the center of the bottom left grouping, and it's fully developed form is labeled "B" in the bottom right.

I know you've toured a lot more of the Scottish museums and seen more pieces than I, so I'm perfectly willing to be wrong, I'm just thinking that the typology I learned was sustained in a few different publications, and was curious what that book had to say in regards to these forms.

Thoughts?

Sincerely,
Matthew
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Tue 16 Nov, 2004 4:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Matthew

The book is called :

Leabhar Comunn Nam Fior Ghael , Vol. 1 & II
"The Book of the Club of True Highlanders"
by C.N. McIntyre North , 1881.
*************************************************
Richard Smythson, Printer, Brooke Street,
Holborn, London, E.C.



McIntyre North's book, like James Drummond's 1881 "Ancient Scottish Weapons", rarely went into terminology detail when describing these pieces ...... they usually just referred to them as "Glaives" (basically lumping them all together).
If something was unusual, or if the author was quoting a source, they might go into more detail, but not always !

Mac

Ancient Scottish Weapons
A series of drawings by the late
James Drummond, R.S.A. , 1881,
with introduction & descriptive notes
by Joseph Anderson
Custodier of the National Museum
of Antiquities Edinburgh
_______________________________
Five Hundred Copies Only For Sale
Of Which This Is No. 190
***********************************************
George Waterson & Sons
Edinburgh & London
MDCCCLXXXI


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Matthew Kelty





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PostPosted: Wed 17 Nov, 2004 2:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mac,
While everyone else stands in line waiting to inherit your swords, all I ask is for first dibs to the library... Wink

Those are gorgeous. Any chance I could get a copy of the scans you've made?
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Wed 17 Nov, 2004 2:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Kelty wrote:
Mac,
While everyone else stands in line waiting to inherit your swords, all I ask is for first dibs to the library... Wink
Those are gorgeous. Any chance I could get a copy of the scans you've made?


Hi Matthew

If your referring to the McIntyre North scans I did, just go to this link , right-click on the image(s), and save them to file !
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...t=mcintyre

Slàinte, Mac

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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Wed 17 Nov, 2004 4:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew, thanks for posting the link to the Historical Arms Series (somehow I suspected that you would have such a thing at your fingertips, you rascal...) It's a top-notch publisher, and all of the monographs that I have acquired or borrowed have been excellent resources. I recommend them highly to all.

Gordon

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2005 11:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bingo!

"The English Deputy St. Leger, in a dispatch to Henry VIII of 1543, describes them (Gallowglass) as 'harnessed in mayle and bassinettes, having everyone his weapon called a sparre, muche like the Axe of the Tower'...."

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2005 2:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And a final note from George Silver:

"Of the lengths of the battle axe, halberd, or black bill, or such like weapons of weight, appertaining unto guard or battle:
In any of these weapons there needs no just length, but commonly they are, or ought to be five or six foot long, & may not well be used much longer, because of their weights."

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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William Goodwin




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2005 3:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean,

Don't mean to rob your thread, but since your on the subject of axes,etc. I found this monster under an old building of my grandmothers probably 35 yrs ago, stuck a homemade hickory handle that my grandfather use to make on it and it's just been lying around ever since. Have been told it's probably from the early 1800's. Anybody else have a clue?
All I know is that it's old & heavy as crap.

Bill



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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2005 7:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hijack away, brother! For once I can provide a definitiveanswer instead of more questions and speculation. Laughing Out Loud

What you have there is a (very cool) classic early American broad axe. Here's the relevant section from Eric Sloane's A Museum of Early American Tools



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-Sean

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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2005 7:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for posting that one Sean! I was looking all over for my copy of Sloane's!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2005 7:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was hoping to get a legible scan for you, Bill, but my machine is suddenly imploding. I'll try again tomorrow evening. The gist of the text is that this axe is for shaping timbers rather than felling trees. It has that big poll and short, offset handle because it's held in place and whacked to square the edges of beams.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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