Victorian Royal Horse Guards Blue Cavalry
Officer's Sword (sold)
Very good condition Victorian Royal Horse Guards Blue (Household
Cavalry) Officer's Sword, owned by a senior Household Cavalry Officer
with full provenance. The original owner of this sword, son of a
wealthy banking family, made second-in-command of the Royal Horse
Guards before going on to become a Member of Parliament in semi-retirement
from the British army.
From 1868 to 1875 or just later, when the British Empire was at
its most prolific with Queen Victoria on the throne, this sword
escorted the world's most powerful person, the British monarch during
state occasions, held by a senior Household Cavalry officer of the
Horse Guards Blue (later renamed the Royal Horse Guards and
nicknamed "The Blues"). That officer was none other than
Colonel Owen Lewis Cope Williams who rose in the ranks of this elite
regiment to become the second-in-command, then a major-general and
member of Parliament.
Made by Henry Wilkinson with the serial number 15756 stamped to
the blade's spine (confirmed on the Wilkinson sales ledger as having
been sold to "Col. Williams" on the 1st June 1868), this
sword genuinely protected a queen who presided over the largest
and many would say greatest empire the world had ever seen. To own
this sword is to own an evocative important symbolic ceremonial
piece from one of the most powerful historical periods in time.
It is likely as close as anyone in the modern world can come to
owning and savoring a slice of Queen Victoria's imperial pomp and
circumstance. Colonel Williams bought this sword to replace the
previous pattern used by the Royal Horse Guards (confirmed in the
Wilkinson sales entry as "N.Pn" for "New Pattern").
Col. Owens and this sword would have ridden directly alongside Queen
Victoria during various state ceremonies.
The 37 3/4 inch straight blade is in very good condition, although
it has a few black patina spots, and is still firm in the hilt.
The hilt's plated base is greyed. The fishskin grip is firm although
a little worn with the ring bindings in good firm order except for
looseness in one section. The scabbard complete with two gilt metal
mounts and corresponding loose rings intact / in place, plus gilt
chape are all in very good condition. The hilt has the Royal Crown
above intertwined "R H G" for the Royal Horse Guards.
The blade is etched with Victoria's Royal Cypher, RHG, foliate design
plus Henry Wilkinson's logo.
Further pictures available upon request.
Other data on Owen Lewis Cope Williams within the Royal Horse Guards:
Made initial cornet rank 12th May 1854, lieutenant on 25th January
1856, captain on the 7th May 1858, major / brevet
lieutenant colonel on the 7th December 1866, brevet colonel 7th
December 1871 and acting lieutenant colonel (the second in command)
on 11th September 1875.
Owen Lewis Cope Williams' father was one Thomas Peers Williams.
a wealthy banker of Temple House in Berkshire and Craig-yd-on in
Anglesea, who died 7th September 1875; it appears Owen Lewis Cope
Williams was the sole son and heir. Col. Williams probably resigned
his commission after his father's death as there is a notice of
disolving of a banking business, Messers Williams and Co in Chester,
Carnarvon and Bangor, run by him and three others on the 13th November
1880; it appears this was as a result of a large corporate client
going into receivership. On the 6th April 1880 Col. Williams was
confirmed as the Member of Parliament for the Borough of Great Marlow.
On 21st July 1882 Col. Owen Lewis Cope Williams who was still on
half pay with the army was promoted to the rank of major-general.
On 21st July 1887 Owen Lewis Cope Williams was put on retired pay
with the British Army and given the honorary title of lieutenant-general.
And this is his sword.