Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Kilmory Knap & Keills stones, sword depictions and dating? Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Peter Messent




Location: Texas
Joined: 03 Jan 2009

Posts: 226

PostPosted: Wed 06 Sep, 2017 10:05 pm    Post subject: Kilmory Knap & Keills stones, sword depictions and datin         Reply with quote

Evening!
I've been wondering a lot about Scottish swords lately, and I just so happened to stumble across a bunch of pictures from Kilmory Knap Chapel and Keills Chapel (western Scotland) with some rather stunning depictions of swords carved in stone. I've read these stones dated variously from the 12th to the 14th century (12th seems awfully early?), leaving me with little certainty about where they actually fall. Of the ones I could get a good look at from pictures, it seems that they had the down-swept quillons (of course that have become stereotypical of Scottish swords) and either wheel pommels with large peen blocks or some evolution of the Viking-age type lobate pommel. The MacMillan Cross, which I understand to be 15th century, also depicts a single-handed sword with a lobate pommel. Essentially, the depictions were in line with Albion's Laird and Caithness swords.

By chance, does anyone happen to have a better approximation for the dates of any of these sword depictions? I'm trying to get an idea of what Scottish swords of the high (or early-late?) middle ages would have looked like (if and where they are unique, of course) and I don't seem to be having a great amount of luck. I've attached a couple of the better pictures I found - there are better pictures on google but I was trying to avoid copyrighted stuff.

Thanks in advance for any help!
Peter



 Attachment: 52.47 KB
swords with targe 12th early 13thc Keills Chapel.jpg


 Attachment: 503.59 KB
[ Download ]

 Attachment: 427.96 KB
[ Download ]
View user's profile Send private message
Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
Joined: 17 Nov 2007
Likes: 110 pages
Reading list: 18 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,123

PostPosted: Thu 07 Sep, 2017 1:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Peter. As far as I know most of these grave slabs are dated to the 15th and 16th centuries.

The lobate pommel type probably developed from a hilt style popular in northern Britain and Norway in the 12th century. Here's a beautiful example of a modern reproduction of the type:

http://myArmoury.com/review_helmes_korsoygaden.html

I'm not sure exactly when the wheel pommel with elongated peen block style first shows up but it was in use by at least 1411 as attested by the effigy of Sir Gilbert de Greenlaw.

Éirinn go Brách
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Peter Messent




Location: Texas
Joined: 03 Jan 2009

Posts: 226

PostPosted: Thu 07 Sep, 2017 5:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply Stephen! 15th century sounds quite a bit closer to what I thought the heyday of these styles was. I'm rather surprised that the lobate pommel would be represented so late, though - I haven't seen any intermediate examples from the 13th-14th century. That is a beautiful reproduction you linked!

Unfortunately this still leaves me wondering what Scottish swords looked like in the 13th-14th centuries - if they were uniquely "Scottish" at all of course! I suppose that the relatively distinctive Scottish style of the 15th-18th century has led me to believe (without a whole lot of evidence) that earlier weapons would have been distinctive as well.

Thanks again!
Peter
View user's profile Send private message
Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
Joined: 01 Oct 2003
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 2,042

PostPosted: Fri 08 Sep, 2017 8:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Going back to the link Stephen sent, I will highly recommend the Hanwei Cawood sword. Wonderful piece. Mine is the one sword in my modest collection that I would never even consider parting with. Pick one up...IF...you can find one in stock, and not grossly overpriced. I bought mine from KoA. Wink .....McM

www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=sh2457&...wood+Sword

''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
View user's profile Send private message
Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
Joined: 01 Oct 2003
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 2,042

PostPosted: Fri 08 Sep, 2017 8:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Do yourself a favor though. Get a bottle of leather dye for that grip and scabbard, unless you just really like pumpkin-orange. That stuff had to GO. 100% improvement, if you ask me. Wink .....McM


 Attachment: 34.71 KB
WIN_20170908_10_46_53_Pro.jpg


''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
View user's profile Send private message
Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
Joined: 17 Nov 2007
Likes: 110 pages
Reading list: 18 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,123

PostPosted: Fri 08 Sep, 2017 11:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Messent wrote:
15th century sounds quite a bit closer to what I thought the heyday of these styles was. I'm rather surprised that the lobate pommel would be represented so late, though - I haven't seen any intermediate examples from the 13th-14th century..... Unfortunately this still leaves me wondering what Scottish swords looked like in the 13th-14th centuries - if they were uniquely "Scottish" at all of course! I suppose that the relatively distinctive Scottish style of the 15th-18th century has led me to believe (without a whole lot of evidence) that earlier weapons would have been distinctive as well.


Thinking more on this I seem to remember a depiction of a hilt very similar to Albion's "Caithness" on a late 13th century Royal Seal (John Balliol's maybe?). I don't really think that there was an intermediary style between the "Cawood" style and the "Caithness" style. The only real difference between the two is the guard changed from being curved to straight.

As for the uniqueness of medieval Scottish swords. Well the "Cawood" style of the 12th / 13th century, as has been said, was not unique to Scotland. The "Caithness" style, which does seem to be unique, probably developed from the " Cawood" style in the late 13th / early 14th century.

Éirinn go Brách
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Peter Messent




Location: Texas
Joined: 03 Jan 2009

Posts: 226

PostPosted: Fri 08 Sep, 2017 11:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the recommendation Mark! That's a beautiful sword, and would be a good partner for the sword I put together with a H/T single-hand sword blade and Printed Armoury Dunvegan fittings Happy I've thought about buying it in the past but always seem to want it right when it's out of stock!
View user's profile Send private message
Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
Joined: 01 Oct 2003
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 2,042

PostPosted: Fri 08 Sep, 2017 2:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Keep on checking in with KoA. They'll have the best price. It's worth every penny. Absolutely one of the best sub-$300 swords on the market today. Get one, neighbor....you won't regret it. Wink ......McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
View user's profile Send private message
Peter Messent




Location: Texas
Joined: 03 Jan 2009

Posts: 226

PostPosted: Fri 08 Sep, 2017 2:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
Thinking more on this I seem to remember a depiction of a hilt very similar to Albion's "Caithness" on a late 13th century Royal Seal (John Balliol's maybe?). I don't really think that there was an intermediary style between the "Cawood" style and the "Caithness" style. The only real difference between the two is the guard changed from being curved to straight.

As for the uniqueness of medieval Scottish swords. Well the "Cawood" style of the 12th / 13th century, as has been said, was not unique to Scotland. The "Caithness" style, which does seem to be unique, probably developed from the " Cawood" style in the late 13th / early 14th century.

Apologies, we posted at the same time and I missed yours! Regarding the Balliol seal, you're correct - I completely forgot about it (even after saving an image of it a month or so ago for that very reason). That's actually somewhat interesting, because Balliol would probably fit comfortably within the demographic that I thought would carry more typical Anglo-Norman type swords of that time (admittedly, having it on his seal doesn't mean he had a sword like that). Still, very interesting that the lobate pommel with the straight but down-sloping quillons (at least that's how they look to me) was known in Balliol's time.

Hopefully I'll be able to get my hands on a Caithness (and/or Laird) before Albion stops making them!

But until then, I'll keep my eye on the Cawood Big Grin
View user's profile Send private message
Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
Joined: 17 Nov 2007
Likes: 110 pages
Reading list: 18 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,123

PostPosted: Fri 08 Sep, 2017 3:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well as pretty much all of the hilt styles that we would consider to be distinctively Scottish were made in urban centres of the Lowlands, which were the areas most influenced by Anglo Norman culture, I don't think it at all strange to imagine someone like John Balliol using a "Caithness" style sword. I think that most people associate "Scottish" swords with the people of the Highlands and Isles, but they were just as much used by Lowlanders. Remember the "Laird" style hilt seen on the effigy of Sir Gilbert de Greenlaw (a Lowlander).
Éirinn go Brách
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Peter Messent




Location: Texas
Joined: 03 Jan 2009

Posts: 226

PostPosted: Fri 08 Sep, 2017 10:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen Curtin wrote:
Well as pretty much all of the hilt styles that we would consider to be distinctively Scottish were made in urban centres of the Lowlands, which were the areas most influenced by Anglo Norman culture, I don't think it at all strange to imagine someone like John Balliol using a "Caithness" style sword. I think that most people associate "Scottish" swords with the people of the Highlands and Isles, but they were just as much used by Lowlanders. Remember the "Laird" style hilt seen on the effigy of Sir Gilbert de Greenlaw (a Lowlander).

True, people do tend to have that association - and where there's a difference between highland and lowland styles, people often consider the highland one "more Scottish" - I really just meant that I thought that Scotland's aristocracy as a whole would tend to be more equipped in a more Anglo-Norman style. Happy
View user's profile Send private message
Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
Joined: 17 Nov 2007
Likes: 110 pages
Reading list: 18 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,123

PostPosted: Sat 09 Sep, 2017 12:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Messent wrote:
I really just meant that I thought that Scotland's aristocracy as a whole would tend to be more equipped in a more Anglo-Norman style. Happy


Maybe John Balliol intentionally chose a distinctively Scottish style of hilt as a political statement. This was a time when the Scots were trying to establish their independence from Anglo Norman England.

As with armour, great numbers of swords were produced in Italy and Germany and exported all over Europe. Some of these swords would have been bare blades and needed to be hilted locally, others were already hilted before being exported. I'm sure you would have seen a mixture of both Standard European and Local styles used in Medieval Scotland, what the ratio was though is anyone's guess.

Éirinn go Brách
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,214

PostPosted: Sat 09 Sep, 2017 11:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cawood type sword, almost identical just bigger, was also found in Norway. It's probable, since it's a design similar to scandinavian swords of that period, that Scots and possibly Normans and Anglo Normans adopted the design from the Norse and Scots evolved it over a century or two to what we recognize as a type represented by many effigies and Albion Caithness.
View user's profile Send private message
Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
Joined: 17 Nov 2007
Likes: 110 pages
Reading list: 18 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,123

PostPosted: Sat 09 Sep, 2017 2:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes Luka I agree.
Éirinn go Brách
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Peter Messent




Location: Texas
Joined: 03 Jan 2009

Posts: 226

PostPosted: Mon 11 Sep, 2017 7:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry for being so late back to this, I've had a busy few days -

Stephen, I agree that choosing a particularly Scottish-styled sword for John Balliol makes sense - same sort of thing politicians do nowadays, I suppose in trying to appear overtly (sometimes ridiculously, but that's another conversation) "national".

Luka, that does seem a reasonable conclusion - I often forget how long Scandinavian influence lasted in parts of Britain. It does seem only logical that certain things we see as being very Scandinavian became very normal in those areas and were adapted along with everything else.
View user's profile Send private message
Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
Joined: 17 Nov 2007
Likes: 110 pages
Reading list: 18 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,123

PostPosted: Fri 15 Sep, 2017 2:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You might find this page of interest. It shows what are probably the Viking Age predasesors the swords we've been discussing.

http://www.vikingage.org/wiki/wiki/Swords_of_...in_Britain

Éirinn go Brách
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Peter Messent




Location: Texas
Joined: 03 Jan 2009

Posts: 226

PostPosted: Fri 15 Sep, 2017 7:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Stephen - that's a great resource, I'll need to check out the rest of the site when I can Big Grin
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Kilmory Knap & Keills stones, sword depictions and dating?
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 2003-2017 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum