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Old 6th November 2021, 02:27 PM   #1
Triarii
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Default English Basket Hilt

Hi,

I've got this early English basket hilt aka 'Irish Hilt' and I'm trying to decipher the maker on the blade, who's name is in the middle fuller. Anyone heard of the maker please?

The lines in the fullers read;
Soli Deo Gloria ("Glory to God alone", one of the Protestant Five Solae)

WILHELM TESCHE ZVNEOMEN

Me Fecit Solingen (Solingen made me)
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Old 6th November 2021, 04:10 PM   #2
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WILHELM TESCHE, yes. You may use the Search button to find further info on him .
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Old 6th November 2021, 04:12 PM   #3
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And by the way,Triarii; can you show us the whole sword ?
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Old 6th November 2021, 06:03 PM   #4
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Absolutely, we need to see the entire sword. Blades were used in many cases almost randomly in many forms of hilts so identifying markings etc on blades., context is important.

The reference to 'Irish' hilt is interesting as this was a term used collectively for basket hilt swords in Great Britain until early 18th century, though there were certain forms which were indeed distinctively 'Irish' in some cases.

Wilhelm Tesch was a Solingen maker in early years of 17th century, and one of about four who were related. It appears he lived in an area in the north of Solingen which was part of the Wirsberg (Weyersberg) estate and the Tesch's often incorporated into their signatures (Mann, 1962).

Outstanding early blade and looking forward to the sword overall.
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Old 7th November 2021, 07:51 AM   #5
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Thanks all.
Here's the whole sword. I've realised that 'zutnomen' is German for 'to be attributed' so the 'zuntomen' is a stamping typo or older spelling.

Interestingly, Wilhelm Tesche the elder was active 1590 to 1625 and the younger from 1640 to 1676.
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Old 7th November 2021, 09:38 AM   #6
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Beautiful .
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Old 7th November 2021, 05:54 PM   #7
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The blade appears single edged, is it?
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Old 7th November 2021, 07:36 PM   #8
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Yes, it's a backsword blade.
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Old 7th November 2021, 11:02 PM   #9
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That blade type would then place this in the 1620s at earliest into 1640s, as these kinds of backsword blades were prevalent on cavalry swords in that period and well through 18th c. The well known 'mortuary' swords were backswords, and swords worn by British cavalry units were as well.

I have not researched the hilt form, but seems typical of many 'dragoon' forms. The "British' units comprised of course of Scots and Irish used varied forms of basket hilt types, most fashioned in garrison towns by local artisans , some in London by several makers there.

Fascinating area of study (I've been hooked for years!) and VERY nice example!!!
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Old 8th November 2021, 10:16 AM   #10
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Thanks.

Mid C17th British military history, tactics and equipment are my 'thing' hence the collecting of swords from the period (a move from Georgian ones).

I've found that the basket hilts are more commonly used in the English Civil War in munition and officer quality (eg Lt Gen Massey and Col Hammond portraits) than I thought. One to explore. The long thread on this forum is great.

I have seen the so-called mortuary (and proto mortuary) swords with broadsword blades. I have one, but that's not typical because the blade is likely to be from the early to mid C16th.
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Old 8th November 2021, 05:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triarii View Post
Thanks.

Mid C17th British military history, tactics and equipment are my 'thing' hence the collecting of swords from the period (a move from Georgian ones).

I've found that the basket hilts are more commonly used in the English Civil War in munition and officer quality (eg Lt Gen Massey and Col Hammond portraits) than I thought. One to explore. The long thread on this forum is great.

I have seen the so-called mortuary (and proto mortuary) swords with broadsword blades. I have one, but that's not typical because the blade is likely to be from the early to mid C16th.

They were indeed used heavily in the Civil Wars of mid 17th and through the century in the conflicts that endured into the Jacobite unrest. The fact that they were of munitions grade is due to being hilted by garrison town makers and many surrounding metal workers and blacksmiths. The most recorded of these types were in London (Jeffries, Drury) and of course Harvey and Dawes of Birmingham.

An outstanding source is "The British Military Sword" by Stuart Mowbray, one of the most tenacious researchers in this field, but the book stops just short of the 18th century. I'm sure you have the Mazansky book, which is great for typology, but not so much for dating.

Your name sounded remarkably like the famed artist Dan Troiani, whose work on military themes is amazing! Im sure you know it.

Mortuary swords with 16th century blades, breathtaking!
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Old 8th November 2021, 06:18 PM   #12
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I have Stuart Mowbrays book and I managed to get in contact with him about the riding sword featured there, which is in his own collection.
I don't have Mazansky, but I found the 100 page essay by Claude Blair in the Caldwell book really useful in getting to grips with the evolution of the basket hilt.

I'd be very interested in any information you may have on basket hilted sword production in London.

Here's the mortuary sword (and a proto mortuary sword for comparison). My jury is out on whether the latter is for infantry or cavalry use.
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Old 8th November 2021, 06:23 PM   #13
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Forgot to say, yes, the new grip on the basket hilt is awful and is on my 'to-do list. The mortuary sword has a latten Passau wolf on it.
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Old 9th November 2021, 04:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triarii View Post
I have Stuart Mowbrays book and I managed to get in contact with him about the riding sword featured there, which is in his own collection.
I don't have Mazansky, but I found the 100 page essay by Claude Blair in the Caldwell book really useful in getting to grips with the evolution of the basket hilt.

I'd be very interested in any information you may have on basket hilted sword production in London.

Here's the mortuary sword (and a proto mortuary sword for comparison). My jury is out on whether the latter is for infantry or cavalry use.
The late Mr. Blair's paper on basket hilts is outstanding!
By London makers, I was referring mostly to Jeffries and Drury, who hilted these military basket hilts for infantry units including Black Watch, known to have used these. They turned them in in 1784 as infantry ceased carrying swords.

As far as the range of English basket hilts, there were numbers of them produced in garrison towns such as Glasgow and Sterling, following more Scottish style. Most others were likely produced by many 'sword slippers' in any number of locations.
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Old 20th December 2021, 09:31 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Jim McDougall View Post
The late Mr. Blair's paper on basket hilts is outstanding!
By London makers, I was referring mostly to Jeffries and Drury, who hilted these military basket hilts for infantry units including Black Watch, known to have used these. They turned them in in 1784 as infantry ceased carrying swords.

As far as the range of English basket hilts, there were numbers of them produced in garrison towns such as Glasgow and Sterling, following more Scottish style. Most others were likely produced by many 'sword slippers' in any number of locations.
Hello Jim, I was reading up on the Mary Rose about the English Basket Hilt found after the vessel was recovered recently following its disastrous sinking over 400 years ago and where many revealing weapons were discovered including an English Basket Hilt.

Clearly a tradition had evolved in Scottish quarters that the origin of Basket hilts was in Scotland when in fact it was earlier when this style had appeared .. as a European weapon ...obviously adopted in such armouries as English then presumably slowly filtering North to develop as Scottish Basket Hilts and with the passage of time being associated with that provenance...
I also wanted to say how much I enjoyed this thread and thanks to all who had joined in...

Regards Peter Hudson
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Old 22nd December 2021, 07:48 PM   #16
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Default Irish baskets

Hello Gents'
My apologies: I posted my question before reading recent postings and consequently missed this one.
However, aside from my interest in Henry VIII's swords, I am curious about the naming of basket hilts as Irish.
Does anyone know how this came about?
Also, following on from another issue raised here: 'Sword Slippers' were ubiquitous, but is there any information about British blade-smiths during this period?
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Old 22nd December 2021, 07:57 PM   #17
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Default Irish baskets

My apologies: posted twice.
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Old 22nd December 2021, 08:22 PM   #18
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It's a lazy C17th English thing that the Celtic fringes were often lumped together as 'Irish', even though the hilt style may have evolved in England (though that perception may be because there is more evidence for its early stages in England than there is in Scotland).
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Old 23rd December 2021, 04:25 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Hudson View Post
Hello Jim, I was reading up on the Mary Rose about the English Basket Hilt found after the vessel was recovered recently following its disastrous sinking over 400 years ago and where many revealing weapons were discovered including an English Basket Hilt.

Clearly a tradition had evolved in Scottish quarters that the origin of Basket hilts was in Scotland when in fact it was earlier when this style had appeared .. as a European weapon ...obviously adopted in such armouries as English then presumably slowly filtering North to develop as Scottish Basket Hilts and with the passage of time being associated with that provenance...
I also wanted to say how much I enjoyed this thread and thanks to all who had joined in...

Regards Peter Hudson
Hi Peter, and thank you for posting on this! This field of study in pretty well clouded but I think we have a much better grasp of it than was generally held a century ago.
There were various suggestions as to origins of the Scottish basket hilts, and as Claude Blair notes ("The Early Basket Hilt in Britain" 1981), the Victorian notions of the Italian schiavona are ill founded as the structure is different and in most cases these Italian swords post date the earliest basket hilts.
Also the so called 'Sinclair sabers' (N. European basket hilt sabers termed tessak) said to have come from the ill fated expedition into Norway in 1612 also post date. No such sabers have been proven assoc. to this event or force.

That the earliest English basket hilt type was found on the 'Mary Rose' (1545) is compelling, and as far as I have known the earliest use of the 'basket hilt' term was in Inverness, Scotland (1576).
It would be hard to succinctly say which region of the British Isles was first to have a form of these 'caged' hilts.

The reason these were termed 'Irish' hilts I believe came from the convention of grouping Scots and Irish together from Gaelic speaking from middle ages thru 18th c. (Blair p.170)...and first recorded accounts of this:
From accounts of Henry Lee, Master of Armouries 1601-1610...dated Nov. 1607; "...ARMYNGE SWORDS Wth IRISH HILTES".
Francis Markham "Five Decades of Epistles of Warre", 1622, notes the musketeer must be armed with a basket hilt in the manner of the Irish".

After this the term seems to have survived until mid 17th c. with latest ref. 1653 (Blair pp, 162-163).
Naturally the convention of the Irish term may have held over in degree, but by the time of the Jacobites, a HIGHLAND BASKET HILT was notably termed as such.

As Trisarii notes, it seems that the true origin of the basket hilt is hard to say specifically as there may be evidence lacking. It is also relative as the development of the structure was incremental, beginning with just simple bars to the guard, much as complex Italian rapier hilts evolved.

To the thing on sword slippers, these seem well recorded in Scotland as Whitelaw did thorough records research on them early in the 20th c. With the English situation, it seems most of the record keeping involved 'cutlers' in other trades aside from mounting blades. While Southwick has good records of precious metals workers. Sure wish we had better records of these guys but what I have understood there were few in England mounting blades (from Germany usually) until Hounslow, then Oxford, Shotley then Birmingham.

Glad you guys are here!!!
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Old 23rd December 2021, 04:56 PM   #20
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Yes, it's encouraging, isn't it?
Jim, your encyclopaedic responses are unrivalled.
Hope you all enjoy the festive season.
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Old 23rd December 2021, 09:09 PM   #21
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Yes, it's encouraging, isn't it?
Jim, your encyclopaedic responses are unrivalled.
Hope you all enjoy the festive season.
Seconded !
Peter Hudson.
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