Scottish Basket-hilted Broadsword

Scottish Broadsword marked ANDREA FERARA in the Colin MacGregor Stevens Collection

Scottish Broadsword marked ANDREA FERARA in the Colin MacGregor Stevens Collection

This sword is apparently from the 1700s (i.e. 18th Century). One collector feels that the blade is circa 1720 and the hilt circa 1780. Sadly there is no provenance (history) with this sword as is so often the case. The fact that it still has its scabbard is a rarity. Research is ongoing. 

My MacGregor, McKay, MacDonald etc. highland ancestors would have carried swords like this one. The basket-hilt was very popular in the 1600s and 1700s and replaced the big two handed swords. There were two basic types. A double-edged basket-hilted sword was called a “broadsword.” A single edged basket-hilted sword was called a “backsword.” In addition to his sword, a  highlander would also carry a targe (pronounced with a hard G) and a dirk. 

The movie “Braveheart” shows the use of a two-handed sword and the movie “Rob Roy” shows the use of a broadsword. 

Many of the Scottish swords are marked with ANDREA FERARA (many variations of this spelling) and experts disagree on whether this was a man or had some other meaning. Most of the swords were made after he would of died if he was a real person. It seems that the marking was a talisman for these weapons. A talisman is a “noun. An object, typically an inscribed ring or stone, that is thought to have magic powers and to bring good luck.” (Oxford Dictionaries)

Some reference books:

  • “Scottish Swords from the BATTLEFIELD at CULLODEN” by Lord Archibald Campbell (Edited by E. Andrew Mowbray) 1971
  • “CULLODEN – The Swords and the Sorrows – An exhibition to commemorate the Jacobite Rising of 1745 and the Battle of Culloden 1746 16 April – 20 September 1996”  – Excellent collection of photos, but the descriptions are extremely technical and are written for expert sword collectors. 
  • “Scottish basket-hilted Swords of the 17th and 18th Century” (sic – should be Centuries) (British Military Swords) by Harvey J. S. Winters 

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