XII.8 from Records
Does anyone have any further information on this sword? Oakeshott lists it as a typical Xa blade, but the long grip pushes it to an XII. If my calculation based on the blade length are correct, the grip length is 5.5 inches. Combined with the unusual pommel, I would have thought it edges to a XIIa (or depending on how pronounced the ridge after the fuller is, an XVIa). I remember when the Albion Count and Steward swords came out, Peter Johnsson talked about other smallish great swords he had researched.
Is this sword one of these early proto bastard swords? Or is the long grip simply a counter balance for that 36 inch blade?
Well, there is a whole family of these transitional swords with long Xa, XI, XII or XIII blades and longer than normal single handed grips. many of them have N or O pommels (see J.D. Crawford germanic warsword with O pommel). They are probably better described as big singlehanders than bastard swords. But early greatswords might be a good name because "greatsword" does not automatically mean two handed use.
I was actually thinking of that sword when I posted. XII.8 is especially interesting to me though, since that pommel looks so inviting as a grip for the second hand. To me, the overall dimensions are similar enough to Peters Count and Steward designs to suggest they were a distinct early evolution of the longsword. It may be a case of seeing what I want to however. ;)
Its a simple but interesting sword, with its big blade, long grip, and type F pommel. The blade is actually pretty similar to that of the sword of St. Maurice (Turin) but the latter has a short grip and Brazil nut pommel. There's a better enhanced photo in 'Sword in Hand' where Oakeshott calls it a typical knightly sword (this strikes one as a bit odd). Oakeshott also talks about this sword in 'Sword in the Age of Chivalry', where he points out the corrosion near the tip and speculates that it might have actually been an XIII originally. But he does not mention this in 'Records' so maybe he changed his mind.

I don't see why one wouldn't grab the pommel on this sword to gain extra leverage, but the term bastard sword arises, to my knowledge, from the notion of a single hand and two hand sword having a bastard child. Since true two-hand swords did not come into common use until later centuries than the presumed period of this sword, I doubt its owner considered it to be a bastard sword. Greatsword, warsword maybe.

Whether or not these 'evolved' into longswords or bastard swords has already been discussed a few times on this site.

To my knowledge this sword has inspired only one modern reproduction. Michael Pikula made a much smaller version with a more tapered XII blade. It would be neat to see a full sized version. But then it would be important to know whether it really was XII or XIII originally. It would help to have more detailed photos. If its still in Cambridge maybe somone can help us out with that.
The pommel is also interesting since it seems almost at odds with the blade period wide. If the sword is circa 1250 like Oakeshott suggests in Records, that would place it within range of the early XIIa and XIIIa greatswords. Thanks for the additional info by the way. I ask because I have a spot with Jeff Helmes coming up and so far its between this sword and another type X in Records (the Boac).
Taylor Ellis wrote:
I ask because I have a spot with Jeff Helmes coming up and so far its between this sword and another type X in Records (the Boac).

Good for you; as you might guess I was thinking about getting this sword done as well, but I've already got a couple of big bladed XIIs so decided to go with other projects.
Does that better quality pic in SIH show any evidence of a inlay? Idont have SIH. :(
Taylor Ellis wrote:
Does that better quality pic in SIH show any evidence of a inlay? Idont have SIH. :(

Actually its the same photo, just lightened a bit. I can't see any definite signs of inlay. There's something that looks like a circle about a third down the blade but that might just be a corrosion pattern.
The pommel also looks like it may have been embellished, but between the quality of the photo and the corrosion its impossible to tell. In regards to the blade, I'm surprised that Oakeshott thought it might originally have been an XIII. Again it may be the quality of the pic, but there seems to be a clear and fairly constant profile taper towards the point, with a ridge line under the fuller running to the point.
Here is a pic for those that don't have Records.

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