Curved single-edged blade with single fuller and hatchet point. Iron stirrup P-shaped hilt with quillon, semicircular langets, iron backstrap with ears. Ribbed wooden grip covered with black leather. Plain steel scabbard with two bands and hanging rings.
The spine of the blade is maker’s marked ‘Wooley & Deakin’ and with a ‘B’ indicating the balance point of the sword. There is a worn mark on the ricasso which appears to have been an inspection mark with crown. On the scabbard is engraved ‘FYC / D / 56’. Under the normal numbering scheme, this would make this sword for trooper 56 of D Troop of the Fifeshire Yeomanry Cavalry. One band of the scabbard is incised with what looks like XXIV – 24 in Roman numerals – which might be a rack number or identifying mark added later.
The blade has been polished to a near-mirror finish; this is certainly not original but is very decorative. The hilt and scabbard have areas of dark patina and very light pitting in places, cleaning these to a similar standard as the blade could produce a great result but I have opted not to mess with it for the sake of preserving originality. Leather washer is present and intact, and the blade is firm in the hilt. Some surface flaking to the leather of the grip.
James Wooley of Birmingham was an active sword cutler from 1785 to 1825, notably producing many of the 1788 Light Cavalry Trooper’s swords before entering into a partnership with cutler and toymaker Thomas Deakin in June 1790, with Deakin very much the minor partner, to the extent that blades from early in the partnership do not always bear his name.
Raised first as the Kirkcaldy Troop in 1797, the Fife Yeomanry Cavalry was given that name in 1803 – putting a rough date on the age of this sword. Struggling somewhat to recruit sufficient numbers, it was disbanded in 1828, raised again in 1831, disbanded again in 1838, then raised again as the 1st Fifeshire Mounted Rifle Volunteer Corps in 1860. This was amalgamated with the 1st Forfarshire Light Horse Volunteer Corps in 1901 to form the Fifeshire and Forfarshire Imperial Yeomanry., which fought in the Boer War. As the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, this unit fought in WW1 as cavalry, and in WW2 as an armoured car company. It amalgamated with the Scottish Horse then was disbanded in 1975. Its lineage is maintained today by "C" Squadron of The Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry.
£750 including UK postage - see the Blackthorn Antiques website for purchase, for details on postage elsewhere and for more antique arms not shown on Gunstar.
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