Original Scottish Circa 1700 Pole Arm from Leith Hall
Original Items: Original Item: Only One Available. Interesting iron hooked bill shaped head with vicious spike protruding to the rear mounted on an original 75" long heavy wood shaft. The head measures 13" with integral 16" long supporting straps.
The blade bears a stamped armorer's mark of a heart with letters AOVL. Metalwork is old an pitted but solid with a nice patina. The shaft bears the branded name; LEITH HALL about half way down.
There is repair to the shaft where it was once cut in order to shorten it, most likely in order to transport sometime in the 20th century. The repair is well done but can be detected upon close examination and does not detract from the appeal of this pole arm.
LEITH HALL, built in 1650 on the site of the medieval Peill Castle, near Aberdeen, Scotland, was the family seat of the LEITH family up until 1945 when it was gifted to The National Trust by the last family member Mrs Henrietta Leith-Hay who remained in residence until her death in 1963.
Here is where it gets interesting- Leith Hall is the family estate of an old Scottish family, the Leith family, just outside Aberdeen, who built and occupied the Hall in 1650. It was the family seat of the LEITH family up until 1945 when the last family member Mrs Henrietta Leith-Hay who remained in residence until her death in 1963 gifted it to The National Trust. Most interesting, if you go to www.aboutaberdeen.com/leithhallghosts.php it states that Leith hall is considered the most HAUNTED Castle in Scotland and lists various family members, some from the era of this pistol, that are reputed to still walk the ancient castle's corridors. This stems back to the Scottish Rebellions of 1715 and 1745, which ended with the very bloody Battle of Culloden in which Bonnie Prince Charlie was finally defeated losing his claim to the British Crown. The Castle was the refuge of the then almost 7 foot tall Andrew Hay of Rannes a prominent rebel who escaped after the final defeat at Culloden. It was more than 30 years until he would get a Royal Pardon for his actions.
The Ghost is said to be Laird John Leith III who was killed on Christmas day 1763 in a drunken brawl in a Tavern in Aberdeen where he was shot in the head. The ghost has appeared on numerous documented occasions in highland dress with a bloody bandage wrapped around its skull in apparent great pain. All this and more Internet information is included with the pistol together with an original family document dated 1737.
The particular pistol dirk with another were obtained from the Leith family solicitors together with some Leith family documents spanning the 17th & 18th centuries until sometime after WW2 and have been in private collections ever since.
As best we understand the Leith Hall collection of both documents and weapons were sold to an English dealer named Herbert Sutcliffe and a collector in Vienna, Austria named George Strkaty purchased some of the items where they remained for nearly 30 years, until passing into the IMA collection.
History of the Strakaty Collection- a collector named George Strakaty of Vienna, Austria created what we now call the Strakaty Collection. George was a born Czech and actually was in the modern arms trade and worked for the Czech Government Arms Company of Omnipol in Prague. Strakaty's role was as an International salesman taking him all over the third world. However, Strakaty was a total Anglophile and every time he visited London would buy only British antique weapons.
Christian, IMA’s Owner, first met George Strakaty, at Omnipol, in 1971 and over the years they became close friends he leading Christian to many Government arms stashes he had discovered. As time passed George’s collection became quite extensive. In the late 1980s Strakaty, by then well past his prime, retired to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands together with his wife Ruth. Before doing so, however, he announced to Christian that he wanted him to buy the entire collection, it was a major undertaking and it took Christian almost five years to pay off the debt. Shortly after George passed away.
Only in the few years, now that, as Christian puts it "is truly on the home stretch himself", has he reluctantly been letting go of some of the Strakaty collection.
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