1811 Patt. British Heavy Cavalry Officer's
"Celtic Hilt" Sword (sold)
A rare Napoleonic British Celtic Hilted heavy cavalry sword /
sabre in good overall condition.
In 1999, a sword collector described this pattern of sword as a
Celtic hilted British heavy cavalry sword, and it stuck. The description
being based on evidence the 4th Irish Dragoon Guards carried this
sword and the Celtic style of the hilt. However, it is just as likely
other British heavy cavalry regiment officers also carried it, as
the 1796P was shown to be highly ineffective in the Peninsular War.
This sword is also sometimes called the 1818 / 1819 Prosser patent
sword, even though it is known to first have appeared in 1811.
As a result of the very ineffective point and blade of the 1796
pattern British heavy cavalry sword during the Peninsular War, where
British swords only bruised French soldiers, and where burly British
heavy cavalry officers used their swords to slash as well as thrust,
it seems clear this sword was the answer to this, with its piercing
and slashing quill point pipe-backed blade. Although there is no
evidence I can find to support this, I would be very surprised if
officers outside the 4th Dragoon Guards did not also use this sword,
perhaps as a campaign (battle) sword, leaving their fine blue and
gilt 1796P at camp. Not least as there are some variations in the
hilt of examples that have survived that would suggest more than
one regiment used it. I find it very hard to believe this sword
was not used in the 100 Days War. Given the experiences of the Peninsular
War and the derision for the 1796P, I can not imagine well to do
British heavy cavalry officers giving up the chance to use a more
effective 1811P "Celtic Hilt" as their battle sabre.
The 35 inch blade is well and truly totally patinated, but very
sound and especially awesome, plus firm in the hilt. The hilt is
equally patinated and sound. The leather grip I believe is a replacement,
but has been very well done, the leather and twisted grip wire bindings
firm and very suitable for a large hand with a firm grip. These
are particularly rare swords and therefore this example is very
well priced. Please quote our reference number B95 (591). Further
/ full sized images available upon request.