Notes on Swords

Two-Handed Swords in Scotland – 1594

Two-handed swords were carried by Highland mercenaries in Ireland as late as 1594 (see the Description of Scottish Soldiers in The Life of Aodh Ruadh O Domhnaill)

Swords and Social Class

Large swords, as opposed to dirks, were carried by the elite warriors in Highland Society, not by the peasants. See Reid, Highland Clansman 1689–1746, pp. 15-18.

Scottish Basket-Hilted swords in the 17th Century

In the 17th Century the single-handed, basket-hilted sword seems to have become the Highlander’s edged weapon of choice (For those Highlanders rich or lucky enough to have a choice). David Stevenson discusses this and those swords appear in the contemporary (and bloodthirsty) poetry of Iain Lom.

Mortuary Hilt Swords

William “Bill” Goodwin notes

“According to Ewart Oakeshott in his book European Weapons and Armour, this label [Mortuary Sword] is an invention of 19th century collectors. The earliest examples of the weapon date to around 1635, thus dispelling the myth of any assocation with Charles’s [King Charles I] death.”

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