Category: 1821

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Pattern 1821 Light Cavalry Style Officer’s Sword for a British Officer in India

An unusual 1821 pattern Indian light cavalry sword, with silver koftghari decorated guard, the deeply curved 80 cm blade by Garden, single wide fuller, perhaps a trooper’s blade the back edge being struck ‘Garden’ but not numbered and completely undecorated, regulation three-bar guard the inside and outside decorated overall with a repeat floral pattern in fine silver koftghari inside the guard near the slot for the sword-knot can found a BUDH or ‘magic square’ plain domed pommel with elongated tang-button, plain eared back-strap, ribbed hardwood grip.

Garden, Army Accoutrement Makers & Sword-Cutlers. Between 1862 and 1877 the gunmaking side of the business was carried on under the name of Garden, Robert Spring, and the accoutrement side under that of Garden & Son, they were located at 200 Piccadilly, circa 1824-1891.

British Pattern 1821 Heavy Cavalry Officer’s Sword

By Hamburger Rogers and Company, pierced decorated guard, wired shagreen grip, with curved engraved blade, length 87cm overall length 102.5cm, steel scabbard.

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Colonel Probyn and the Officers of the 11th Bengal Cavalry, 1863

This photo illustrates the great diversity in uniforms that could be found in any given cavalry regiment in Indian following the Mutiny in 1857-58. This diversity extends to the swords used by the officers and men. We can see the three-bar hilt of a Pattern 1821 Light Cavalry Sword, a “Hindu basket hilt” of a khanda or firangi, “mameluke” hilts, non-regulation “Scinde Horse” pattern hilts (scroll hilts), and hilts that are very similar to Pattern 1796 Cavalry Swords.

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British Pattern 1821 Light Cavalry Officer’s Sword with Patent Solid Hilt, 1894

A gorgeous Wilkinson patent solid hilt light cavalry officer’s sword, marked to the Queen’s Own 4th Hussars, sold to Henry J F Newbould of the 4th Hussars in January 1894 (a fellow officer of Winston Churchill, who was in the same regiment). This sword ticks so many boxes – a numbered Wilkinson to a named officer, but also regimentally marked, which is unusual, and to a good regiment, plus it’s a desirable patent solid hilt. The hilt is absolutely rock solid on the hilt of course, the guard, backstrap and blade all have an even patina (which could be brightened with careful cleaning in the future). The etching is clear. The blade is straight and sound. The grips are in very good condition with sharp chequering. Nearly all the silver grip wire is still in place (missing two strands at the bottom groove). Plus, this sword was certainly in the presence of Winston Churchill when he was a young officer, who joined the 4th Hussars very close to Newbould. In the hand this sword feels chunky and it is quite rigid, with a straight blade primarily for thrusting.

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British Pattern 1821 Light Cavalry Officer’s Sword

A gorgeous Victorian light cavalry officer’s sword retailed by Hawkes, with a virtually perfect blade. The hilt and scabbard of this sword are in good condition, bright and with only minor pitting to the scabbard. The hilt is solid on the tang and while it has had the grip wire removed, the shagreen is in excellent condition. However the real highlight of this sword is the blade, which retains about 95% of the original mirror polish and frost etching – it shows what these blades looked like when first made. The frost etching is outstandingly executed, as you would expect of Hawkes, who were a prestige outfitter of the time. Even the washer is dyed red to make the sword appear as high quality as possible. To add to this fantastic package, the sword handles wonderfully also. It has not been service sharpened and probably saw very little service, if any, but is a beautiful sword.

This is the sword Matt Easton shares in this video.

Leather Hilt Covers on Military Swords

Occasionally we find antique military swords with leather covers on parts or all of their hilts. Here we look at a British example with a blade from the 1860s, a hilt from the 1890s, and applied leather over its entire guard on inside and out.

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Indian Mutiny and William Hodson Display at the National Army Museum in London

victoriansword:

Pattern 1821 Light Cavalry Style Officer’s Sword for a British Officer in India

An unusual 1821 pattern Indian light cavalry sword, with silver koftghari decorated guard, the deeply curved 80 cm blade by Garden, single wide fuller, perhaps a trooper’s blade the back edge being struck ‘Garden’ but not numbered and completely undecorated, regulation three-bar guard the inside and outside decorated overall with a repeat floral pattern in fine silver koftghari inside the guard near the slot for the sword-knot can found a BUDH or ‘magic square’ plain domed pommel with elongated tang-button, plain eared back-strap, ribbed hardwood grip.

Garden, Army Accoutrement Makers & Sword-Cutlers. Between 1862 and 1877 the gunmaking side of the business was carried on under the name of Garden, Robert Spring, and the accoutrement side under that of Garden & Son, they were located at 200 Piccadilly, circa 1824-1891.

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There were two patterns of sword used by British cavalry officers during the Victorian era; one pattern for heavy cavalry officers and one pattern for light cavalry officers. 

The Pattern 1821 Heavy Cavalry Officer’s Sword was the regulation sword for combat for officers of heavy cavalry regiments from 1821 to 1912. Heavy cavalry regiments included the three regiments of Household Cavalry, seven regiments of Dragoon Guards, and three regiments of Dragoons for a total of thirteen heavy cavalry regiments. The Household Cavalry regiments had their own unique patterns, but occasionally their officers opted for the standard P1821 Heavy Cavalry Officer’s Sword, so we could potentially narrow down the number of regiments using the P1821 Heavy Cavalry Sword to nine regiments.

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Above: a Pattern 1821 Heavy Cavalry Officer’s Sword c.1850-1860

The Pattern 1821 Light Cavalry Officer’s Sword was the regulation sword for combat for officers of light cavalry regiments from 1821-1896. There were seventeen light cavalry regiments during our period. In addition to those seventeen regiments in the regular army, there were dozens (39 in 1880) of Yeomanry (essentially militia cavalry) regiments, the vast majority of which were light cavalry. Based on numbers of regiments alone, once can see that there were far more light cavalry officers than heavy cavalry officers, and therefore more P1821 Light Cavalry Officers’ Swords than P1821 Heavy Cavalry Officers’ Swords. Officers of the Royal Artillery and Royal Horse Artillery also carried the P1821 Light Cavalry Officer’s Sword, thereby adding to the already large numbers of P1821s manufactured in the 19th century.

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Above: a Pattern 1821 Light Cavalry Officer’s Sword c.1850-1860

In 1896 the powers that be decided that the light cavalry officer’s sword had insufficient hand protection and decided that officers of light cavalry regiments should adopt the P1821 Heavy Cavalry hilt. At that point officers had a few options–they could re-hilt their current swords with the heavy cavalry pattern hilt, or they could buy completely new swords. It is likely some officers ignored the new regulation and kept their three-bar light cavalry hilts, but most officers would make sure their swords conformed to regulations. With the new regulations of 1896 requiring all cavalry officers to adopt the heavy cavalry hilt, heavy cavalry pattern swords became much more plentiful than they had been prior to 1896. For modern day collectors, this means that post-1896 heavy cavalry officers’ swords are much easier to find on the market than pre-1896 heavy cavalry officers’ swords. Post-1896 cavalry swords are often called the Pattern 1896 Cavalry Officer’s Sword or Pattern 1896 Universal Cavalry Officer’s Sword. Although this pattern was replaced by the Pattern 1912 Cavalry Officer’s Sword, a number of officers chose the P1896 which was still being made throughout the period of the Great War.

It is important to note that throughout the Victorian era, especially in last two or three decades, officers’ swords began to subtly change–most notably grips and blades became straighter. Below is an example of a World War One era Pattern 1896 Cavalry Officer’s Sword.

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Above: a Pattern 1896 Cavalry Officer’s Sword c.1914

These images of Winston Churchill illustrate the change to the regulations. As a newly commissioned officer in 1895, young Winston is wearing a Pattern 1821 Light Cavalry Officer’s Sword. In 1896 Churchill is pictured wearing a Pattern 1896 Cavalry Officer’s Sword.

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Above: Winston Churchill when he was a 2nd Lieutenant of the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars, 1895. He is holding a Pattern 1821 Light Cavalry Officer’s Sword.

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Above: Winston Churchill in India, 1896. He is wearing a Pattern 1896 Cavalry Officer’s Sword.

Sword photos from Easton Antique Arms.

British Pattern 1821 Artillery Officer’s Sword

Victorian Royal Horse Artillery Officer’s Sword c.1846 by Henry Wilkinson Pall Mall London, un-numbered, straight un-fullered single edge blade with gold proof stamp, etched with crowned royal arms, cipher, regimental badge, thunderflash within ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY all within tight foliage, together with owner’s crest, regulation triple bar guard, silver wire bound fish skin covered grip. Blade 90.5cm, overall 105cm. Crest and motto of 2nd Lieut. Alexander John MacDougall, commissioned 6.8.1846, 1st Lieut. 7.5.1847, Second Captain 30.5.1854.