- Dated: late 19th century
- Culture: British
- Measurements: overall length 103.5 cm
The sword has a burnished pommel and guard with sharkskin grip with wires. The straight, double-edged bifullered blade is marked ‘Fenton Brothers, Sheffield’. The sword is the type usually associated with the Scottish regiments.
Source: Copyright © 2014 Auction Flex
This is a Highland Regiment broadsword (or claymore) in “off-parade” dress.
Close inspection of pics 2 & 3 shows a hole in the pommel-nut. A metal bar passed through this hole gave leverage as the pommel was unscrewed, and then the entire hilt - pommel, grip and crossguard - was removed and replaced with the more familiar “on-parade” basket with its red velvet and leather liner and tasselled full-dress pommel. (According to Pooley Sword and WKC-Solingen, who took over from Wilkinson Sword, modern versions no longer have the interchangeable feature.)
Some authorities claim that the “one true claymore" (claidheamh-mòr = great sword) is a two-handed sword like this one from the British Museum…
…that its “clamshell” Lowland variant was not a claymore due to Gaelic not being spoken there, instead it was a “twa-handit swerd” with the ‘w’ in “swerd” being pronounced just as in “twa”…
…and that the basket-hilt broadsword was really a “claybeg” (claidheamh-beag = small sword.)
Arguments go to and fro, up and down, but according to John Prebble’s well-researched book “Culloden" (p.89 of my Penguin edition)
”...the clansmen called upon their chiefs as children to a father, asking for the order “Claymore!” that would put them to the onset."
David Morier painted “An Incident in the Rebellion of 1745” in 1746, using prisoners and equipment captured after Culloden as his Highland models. None of them are shown carrying “true claymores”, yet they weren’t calling for the order “Claybeg!" or "Basket-hilted broadsword!”
If the men who fought and died at Drumossie Moor called their supposedly-wrong swords “claymores”, that may irritate weapon historians who find it untidy, but it’s good enough for me.