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1796 Officers Sword (and others): Trying to Identify Owner

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1796 Officers Sword (and others): Trying to Identify Owner

Postby BingandNelsonFan » August 16th, 2017, 1:03 pm

Hi! I've posted some family swords on the Victorian forum, but this one has now been identified as a 1796 Officers Light Cavalry Sword, so I thought I'd post it over here and see if anyone has more thoughts about it.

All the family swords are still in the family house in England, so I have someone who has been going through and taking these photos for me (being in the USA, myself). I'm trying to figure out which family member would have been the possible owner.

The 1796 sword was photographed individually, but there are some more older swords still hanging on the wall. Here's a link to the large version of the one photo that shows that wall. Any first impressions of what these might be?
http://www.sarahbethonline.com/photos/forumpics/pe%20swords%20(23).jpg

Two large photos of the 1796 sword:
Sword and Scabbard (full length)
http://www.sarahbethonline.com/photos/forumpics/pe%20swords%20(9).jpg

Hilt (close-up)
http://www.sarahbethonline.com/photos/forumpics/pe%20swords%20(10).jpg

There are three brothers in the family who could belong to this one, all of whom were in the Fencibles/Militia. These are their ranks/dates, etc. Maybe this would help narrow down which sword may have belonged to which gent?

Gent #1 (Edward)
30 May 1794-- Commissioned Captain in Cornwall Regiment Fencible Cavalry
09 Jan 1796-- Rank of Major in Cornwall Regt. of Fencible Light Dragoons
Passes Away in 1797.

Gent #2 (John)
1797-- Lieutenant in Cornwall Yeomanry
1803-- Lt.-Col Commandant, East Cornwall Volunteers
1803-- Captain in Cornwall Yeomanry
1808-- Colonel of East Cornwall Militia
Retired by 1815

Gent #3 (William)
1792-- Ensign/Lieut. in Royal Cornwall Militia
1795-- Captain in Royal Cornwall Militia
1803-- Major in Royal Cornwall Militia
1804-- Lt.-Colonel in Royal Cornwall Militia
1807-- Colonel in Royal Cornwall Militia
Retired by 1823.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
Sarah
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Last edited by BingandNelsonFan on August 30th, 2017, 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1796 Officers Sword (and others): Trying to Identify Own

Postby Jerry » August 30th, 2017, 9:48 am

Hi Sarah

Looks to be a really nice officers 1795 LC sabre.

Not knowing much about the units involved, but from first principles, I would say that gent #2 (John) would be the most likely candidate for this sabre. Edward would likely have had an earlier model of sword (Perhaps the 1788) but if he passed away 1797 seems unlikely he would have had this model.

The Royal Cornwall Militia i assume was an infantry unit, so William would not have had a cavalry sabre such as this. Some officers of infantry light companies did have a variant of the 1796 but they this one looks a standard officers cavalry version.

The sabre has nice etching again which looks quite standard for the period, I can only see one side of the blade, but there may be a royal arms which can help date the piece. The arms fall into pre-1801, 1801-16 and 1816-37.

I put this posting up which gives the information on this:

viewtopic.php?f=20&t=2318

Looking at the wall display, difficult to make out but the sword on the left of the larger shield I am pretty sure is a Pattern 1803 Flank Company infantry officers sword, which was a popular design. This could have been used by William. The one one the right might be a 1796 flank variant I mentioned before, not sure of the 2 larger cavalry sabres - not clear enough. On the other shield the left hand one might be a P1796 infantry officers sword.

Kind regards
Jerry
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Re: 1796 Officers Sword (and others): Trying to Identify Own

Postby Josh&Historyland » August 30th, 2017, 11:51 am

Essentially I agree totally with Jerry,

Defo the 1796 pattern, and yes given the engraving it's probably an officer's sword. The '96 was as has been stated designed for the light cavalry.

My thoughts are:
There's no recognisable markings on the blade except for the Royal Cypher. Presumably there's no monogram or else your relatives would have been able to guess.
So we can only go by likelihood. Given that most Fencible cavalry regiments dressed as light dragoons, at first it seem like #1, Edward is most likely, as he served only in mounted units. However, given he died in 1797, and if he entered the reserve service in 1795, given the sword pattern here was issued to the regulars first in presumably 1796-97 (I've never actually looked into when the swords were given out), #2 John might be a more likely candidate after becoming Colonel of the Cornwall Yeomanry. William having never seemingly served with a mounted unit is the least likely. Bearing in mind the cavalry sabre was copied for certain light infantry models.

If it would be possible to discover more about the fencible cavalry and yeomanry units, how they were dressed and equipped etc, it might narrow it down. That however might be a tall order, but there is a fairly healthy collection of reservist portraiture out there so you never know.

Josh.
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Re: 1796 Officers Sword (and others): Trying to Identify Own

Postby BingandNelsonFan » August 30th, 2017, 11:57 am

Thanks for the great info.
I've got a gent who is local to the family house who is going in the next couple of weeks to take more photos --- particularly the blades. No, the family who owns them are older and have never looked at the blades. :) So, there may be some engraving on them to help.

Gent #1, Edward, was active from 1794. I seem to have mis-typed it here. He was already in meetings and setting up the troop by the beginning of May 1794, and his commission is actually dated 30 May 1794. Sorry for the mistake! That probably puts him needing an older sword, right?
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Re: 1796 Officers Sword (and others): Trying to Identify Own

Postby Josh&Historyland » August 30th, 2017, 12:01 pm

That'd be my thinkin'
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Re: 1796 Officers Sword (and others): Trying to Identify Own

Postby Jerry » August 30th, 2017, 3:50 pm

Typo in my first line - meant 1796 not 1795. Doh!

The etching looks in good condition, so more photos particularly of the Royal Crest/Arms if possible to get a better date. Also check the back edge of the blade towards the hilt, the makers name is often lurking there... Osborn is a frequent name of good quality 1796 officers swords.

Jerry
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Re: 1796 Officers Sword (and others): Trying to Identify Own

Postby BingandNelsonFan » August 30th, 2017, 4:25 pm

Jerry wrote:Typo in my first line - meant 1796 not 1795. Doh!

The etching looks in good condition, so more photos particularly of the Royal Crest/Arms if possible to get a better date. Also check the back edge of the blade towards the hilt, the makers name is often lurking there... Osborn is a frequent name of good quality 1796 officers swords.

Jerry


I've got requests into the gent who is going in the next couple of weeks to take more photos. Hopefully, there will be full photos of all parts of the blade. I'll be sure to post. Thanks so much for the input, because it will be so neat to narrow down the original owners. :)
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