Original British Late 18th Century Irish Rebellion Era Pattern 1796 Spadroon Sword

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a fantastic example of a British Pattern 1796 Spadroon sword, as used by both Officers and Noncommissioned Officers alike. The sword, though offered without a scabbard, is in wonderful condition and is the first one we have been able to offer. This would be a welcomed addition to any 18th Century British collections!

A spadroon is a light sword with a straight-edged blade, enabling both cut and thrust attacks. This English term first came into use in the early 18th century, though the type of sword it referred to was in common usage during the late 17th century. They were primarily used as a military (army & navy) sidearm in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and for officers and NCOs in the latter part of the 18th and early 19th centuries. The type of sword also saw widespread use across Europe and America, though the term 'spadroon' is unique to the Anglophone world.

Spadroon is a term used to categorize a type of sword that is in between a small sword (which thrusts only), and the heavier-bladed broadsword. They may have single- or double-edged blades, and hilt types ranging from a simple stirrup guard, to double shells, and even further protection to the sides of the hand.

The 1796 pattern sword (spadroon) was the first British infantry sword to truly follow a pattern and be controlled by strict parameters. It followed the same regulation blade outlined in 1786, but now also featured a regulation hilt. A brass gilded double shell guard with knucklebow and urn shaped pommel. A guard that was in fact very similar to many small swords of the day, a fact that leads to them often being mistaken for one another. The 1796 spadroon was not a copy of the small sword, but in fact one in a long lineage of double shell military swords that had been in use in Britain from the late 17th century, as well as in widespread use across Europe. The exact ornamentation of the 1796 was indeed a copy of those carried by the Prussian Frederick the Great and his officers. One shell was often hinged (not on this example) so that the sword sat flush when wearing against the uniform, but this was not part of the regulation, and at the discretion of the purchaser.

The 1796 infantry sword was for use by Infantry officers and NCO's, Royal Artillery officers and NCOs, Royal Engineer officers and other corps (Such as surgeons for example).

It was widely disliked, as is noted in many sources at the time. Though it is important to note that officers had to purchase their own swords, and so whilst many 1796 pattern spadroons are poor weapons, it is entirely possible to specify and make a successful and effective sword within the parameters of the regulation. Therefore, decent fighting weapons do exist among surviving examples of this pattern type, as well as many that range from adequate to poor fighting weapons. Attempts to replace this spadroon with a robust saber were only partially successful. With an infantry pattern introduced in 1803, and many non-regulation sabres carried both within and against the regulations of the day. Despite this, the 1796 spadroon lived on until it was replaced in army service in 1822 by a new model of saber, and ended the use of the Spadroon in British army service, and in Naval use in 1827 (also by a new saber pattern).

This example is in wonderful condition and retains a fantastic wood handle grip which would have been beautifully wrapped in brass wire, though only slight evidence of the wire remains. The 30” blade is in wonderful condition though now is quite darkened from patina and age. There are nicks present on both edges of the blade, showing typical signs of use and possible child’s play. The hilt has a 4” grip and features the lovely brass colored fixed double clamshell with knucklebow guard.

A lovely, rather scarce example that comes more than ready for display.

Approximate Dimensions:
Blade Length: 30"
Blade Style: Double Edged Spear Point
Overall length: 36“
Guard dimensions: 4 1/4" width x 5” length

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