X Marks the Scot - An on-line community of kilt wearers.

   X Marks Partners - (Go to the Partners Dedicated Forums )
USA Kilts website Freedom Kilts website Scotweb websiten Burnetts and Struth website Kilt Society website
The Scottish Trading Company Xmarks advertising information MacGregor and MacDuff Xmarks advertising information Celtic Croft website

User Tag List

Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Join Date
    8th September 16
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    123
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    MacDonald, Clanranald, Basket Sword - Need help.

    From what I have read in several books on Scottish weapons, many of the weapons such as muskets (mainly hunting muskets), basket swords, dirks, etc were locally made, often my members of the clan where they resided. So my question is this. I am looking for photos of a Basket Sword used during the 18th Century, specifically Jacobite, that would have been own by a MacDonald in the Highland area of Inverness. I know they have examples in museum in Scotland, but obviously living here in the US has its limitations. I was hoping that somebody from Scotland would assist me on getting photographs of a basket sword that was documented as being own by a MacDonald of Inverness-shire. Can anybody assist me with this?
    Allan Collin MacDonald III
    Grandfather - Clan Donald, MacDonald (Clanranald) /MacBride, Antigonish, NS, 1791
    Grandmother - Clan Chisholm of Strathglass, South River, Antigonish, 1803
    Scottish Roots: Knoidart, Inverness, Scotland, then to Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    11th July 05
    Location
    Alexandria, VA (USA)
    Posts
    212
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by CollinMacD View Post
    From what I have read in several books on Scottish weapons, many of the weapons such as muskets (mainly hunting muskets), basket swords, dirks, etc were locally made, often my members of the clan where they resided. So my question is this. I am looking for photos of a Basket Sword used during the 18th Century, specifically Jacobite, that would have been own by a MacDonald in the Highland area of Inverness. I know they have examples in museum in Scotland, but obviously living here in the US has its limitations. I was hoping that somebody from Scotland would assist me on getting photographs of a basket sword that was documented as being own by a MacDonald of Inverness-shire. Can anybody assist me with this?
    There are photos of 18th century baskethilt swords marked (on the blades) with Jacobite slogans, but unless one is held in a collection with documentation pinning ownership to a MacDonald from Invernesshire, I think you have set yourself a very hard task. Please also note that 18th century Invernesshire was a big area, going from Inverness (in the east) to the west coast of the Highlands.

    As to the swords themselves, in the 18th century there was a specific group of craftsmen that supplied them. While a few may still have been made by local craftsmen, the clan gentry that ordered swords (which were not poor men's weapons) usually went to one of the centers of manufacture (Stirling, Glasgow, Edinburgh, etc) and procured one to suit their tastes. In the 18th century, blades for baskethilt Scottish swords came almost exclusively from certain areas of Germany (the Scots knew they could not match the Germans for quality or price), but the hilts were made and fitted by hammermen in one of the Scottish centers. One can tell a sword from Glasgow from one made in Stirling by the distinctive styles of their baskethilt.

    Dirks, on the other hand, were made by local craftsmen - usually wandering "tinkers" - who would take a broken or old sword blade and cut it down, and craft a hilt to it, in exchange for silver or other trading materials, according to the means of the requestor. I've seen examples that ranged from very high quality to pretty crude, with blades that ranged from 12 inches to 18 inches.

  3. The Following 2 Users say 'Aye' to Orvis For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    Join Date
    21st July 14
    Location
    Burien Washington USA
    Posts
    1,068
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If you are on facebook, find and join the MacDonald Armouries group. Paul MacDonald of Edinburgh is a master bladesmith, an expert on baskethilts, and a Clanranald clansman. If anyone can help you, I think it would be him. If you aren`t on facebook you could try contacting him through his website.

  5. The Following User Says 'Aye' to Dughlas mor For This Useful Post:


  6. #4
    Join Date
    30th January 10
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    140
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Get a copy of The Scottish Sword, 1600 - 1945 by Harvey J. S. Withers. It is well-illustrated but the one shortcoming of the work, IMHO, is that there are an awful lot of English swords included. English and Scottish basket hilts were very similar in many respects, especially in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Don't really understand why the author chose to include so many of them but will say that the book would be much slimmer without their being included. I offer this suggestion just to enable you to get familiar with this type of sword.

    As far as firearms made locally, that is not correct. There was a pistol manufacturing center in Doune from the 17th through the early 19th century and pistols were also made in Aberdeen and other locations as well. As far as long guns, there were a handful of makers producing what is referred to as the Scottish National style long gun which had some distinctive characteristics. Only 28 of these guns still exist and it is doubtful that very many others were made. But, they were definitely not locally made.

    Orvis did a good job of explaining the situation with basket hilt swords and I really cannot add anything. I will support what he said regarding pinning down a sword which could be traced to ownership by a MacDonald in Inverness-shire. That will be a tall order to fill, but good luck in attempting it.

  7. #5
    Join Date
    8th September 16
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    123
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Thumbs up

    Thanks all for you information, you have provided me the basic information that I need to start me quest. Orvis special thanks, now I understand. The sad part of this, my Grandfather was in possession of the sword from the family from around 1740, and during WWII he gave it to a metal collection for the war effort. My Aunts told me about the sword and they learned the Fling and Sword Dance using that very sword. After the sword was gone, they would practice the sword dance with broom sticks...guess never the same.

    I hope to go to Scotland for a good stay in a few years, and hope to hit some good museums in Inverness and other places to learn more. This information is a good start. I did go over to Amazon to look up the books recommended, and they are a little beyond what I can afford now. One book going for almost $400. and some change....sorry, I will go to the library....

    Thanks so much, and I will continue my research....
    Allan Collin MacDonald III
    Grandfather - Clan Donald, MacDonald (Clanranald) /MacBride, Antigonish, NS, 1791
    Grandmother - Clan Chisholm of Strathglass, South River, Antigonish, 1803
    Scottish Roots: Knoidart, Inverness, Scotland, then to Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.

  8. #6
    Join Date
    11th July 05
    Location
    Alexandria, VA (USA)
    Posts
    212
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by CollinMacD View Post
    Thanks all for you information, you have provided me the basic information that I need to start me quest. Orvis special thanks, now I understand. The sad part of this, my Grandfather was in possession of the sword from the family from around 1740, and during WWII he gave it to a metal collection for the war effort. My Aunts told me about the sword and they learned the Fling and Sword Dance using that very sword. After the sword was gone, they would practice the sword dance with broom sticks...guess never the same.

    I hope to go to Scotland for a good stay in a few years, and hope to hit some good museums in Inverness and other places to learn more. This information is a good start. I did go over to Amazon to look up the books recommended, and they are a little beyond what I can afford now. One book going for almost $400. and some change....sorry, I will go to the library....

    Thanks so much, and I will continue my research....
    The fate of that 1740's family heirloom baskethilt makes me cringe. I know people were enthusiastic about helping out with the war effort in WWII, but...

    Another book you can look for is John Wallace's "Scottish Swords and Dirks" (1970), which I've seen offered online for prices ranging from $40 and up.

    Good luck with your quest.

  9. #7
    Join Date
    30th January 10
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    140
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Which book was going for $400? Want to see if I can sell it, if I have it, to supplement my retirement fund!!

    You will see some outlandish prices on some of these books, especially those printed in GB. They tend to go in and out of print with a corresponding increase in price. But, if you are patient they are sometimes reprinted and available for much less.

  10. #8
    Join Date
    26th September 05
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    349
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The Wallace book is online, you have to hunt for it, but its out there......

    Im amazed that the Wither's book is listed at 682.99 on Amazon. I think I paid 25 bucks for it when it came out from a guy who got advanced copies because a couple of his swords are pictured in the book! Unreal...

    Edited to say:

    Swords of Sorrow is another good sword book, just relating to known Jacobite swords. It is an exhibit catalog from probably 30 years ago. Might be available thru interlibrary loan.
    Last edited by Luke MacGillie; 13th September 17 at 01:18 PM.

  11. #9
    Join Date
    30th January 10
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    140
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I saw that price on the Withers book too and that is ridiculous. I did not pay much more than you did for your copy. Did you, by chance, get your copy from Donnie Shearer? Some of his swords and a pistol he used to own, were pictured in the book.

  12. #10
    Join Date
    26th September 05
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    349
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by MacRob View Post
    I saw that price on the Withers book too and that is ridiculous. I did not pay much more than you did for your copy. Did you, by chance, get your copy from Donnie Shearer? Some of his swords and a pistol he used to own, were pictured in the book.
    No, got mine from Glen McClain

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

» Log in

User Name:

Password:

Not a member yet?
Register Now!
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v4.2.0