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Thread: At Last! An 1821P HC Troopers Sword

  1. #1
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    At Last! An 1821P HC Troopers Sword

    Hi Gents, just wanted to share my good fortune, recently bought at auction. I,ve removed all the surface rust and gently polished it with autosol, don,t think I shall go any further. It,s all there, 95% of the leather, original washer, both throat screws and scabbard liners. Blade has some pitting but solid. Blade length is a staggering 37.5 inches, with it,s original 39 inch scabbard. Blade stamped E GILL on the spine and scabbard stamped with a tiny GILL below the throat. Working between Robson and Mark Cloke,s excellent Gill Family research paper, would seem to date it circa 1827-1831, when Elizabeth Gill disappears from the trade directories, so it appears to be an early example given production at Enfield didn't start till 1825. Sadly there are no regimental or inspection stamps I can find so far. Given how rare this pattern is, with it,s extremely long blade and a fairly scarce maker, I,m chuffed to bits!! Would welcome your comments, especially on the blade length and maker, is there another one out there? Regards Ben. ( trying to upload photos!)

  2. #2
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    Photos hopefully!
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  3. #3
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    A beauty!
    I have a Gill LC sword and it has the same back strap indented with thumb rest. Gill is the same small mark on the scabbard.
    Your sword is E Gill, Johns wife Elizabeth carried on the business after his death in 1817. I believe it is an early sword, Robsons only mentions Enfield though other makers together made about the same quantity.
    Robsons states the LC sword 6000 were made, reads as if Enfield made them but about half (see #35 footnote) were by other makers including Gill. 1825 Enfield made 2000 HC swords.
    The blade on yours is longer then my Gill 1821p LC swords and unmarked 1821p HC sword by 1 1/2".

    Is the inside of the guard painted? I have been told some were used during WW1 for training, probably due to the similar guard to the 1908p.


    Last edited by Will Mathieson; 01-14-2015 at 10:18 AM.

  4. #4
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    Thanks Will, pure luck, couldn't attend the auction in person so had to leave a commission bid and won it on the last shout! Just shows they,re still out there...and no, no paint present.

  5. #5
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    Luck seems to work. I would like to upgrade my 1821HC sword since mine has been sharpened a fair bit to narrow the blade and it is less scabbard.
    A good early example though with the lighter blade then the LC sword that was complained about. It has quite old dark greyish green paint on the inside of the guard, I tried a small spot with paint remover but nothing will touch it, possibly some early type paint made differently than today.

  6. #6
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    I noticed you did not say where you sourced your sword. I made the mistake once of letting an acquaintance know which auction I bought a sword at, the next auction he was there bidding me up

  7. #7
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    Will, I wonder if you could upload those marvellous photos of Robert Droash 1st Royal Dragoons for those forumites who may not have seen them, they really put the old sword in context, thanks.
    Last edited by Ben Bevan; 01-15-2015 at 02:53 AM.

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  9. #9
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    Such a great photo! Interestingly no sword knot or buff hilt liner?

  10. #10
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    Bump, for the attention of Mark & Will, I’m assuming that this was one of the standard 1821p HC Swords issued to the 2nd Life Guards as per Robson ‘ in 1833 the Regiment received an issue of the ordinary pattern 1821 Heavy Cavalry Troopers Sword. Issues appear to have started shortly after this and to have been substantially completed by 1836’ 354 Swords in total. Leslie Southwick states, ‘Elizabeth was active until her death in 1835, after which the business was managed by her trustees’, so dates wise my Sword is a likely candidate, unless Mark, your research would refute that.
    Last edited by Ben Bevan; 08-08-2019 at 01:43 PM.

  11. #11
    "In 1827 Elizabeth Gill remarried one John Darwen. The 1831 trade directories list three different entries for the business. ‘Gill, Widow’ at Masshouse Lane, ‘Gill, Jno.’ at 20 Masshouse Lane and ‘Gill, Eliz.’ trading at 7 Edgbaston Street . 7 Edgbaston Street was the address of the Darwen family business of Saddle and Harness makers.. There are a number of contracts awarded to Elizabeth by the East India Company starting in 1819 with the last payment being May 1842. In May 1842 Col. Bonner of the Company performed a tour of the manufacturers in the Midlands. Col. Bonner reports that Elizabeth Gill had remarried and is now Mrs Darwen. His report of this tour recommended that a number of companies should be removed from the suppliers list due to them not manufacturing the goods themselves. Mrs Darwen is amongst them and her name was therefore removed from the list. The last rate book entry we can find for Elizabeth Darwen is 1848 in Edgbaston Street. Elizabeth died in 1852. . (Extract from my article on the Gill family)

  12. #12
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    1821 pattern heavy cavalry sword of the Household Cavalry. Blade Is 38 inches by 1 1/4 wide. The sheet metal guard is thin in comparison to later cast iron versions.
    I can't quote the reference but remember reading there were complaints regarding these early thin guards. A thin line is engraved that outlines the guard.
    Marked "GILL" on the blade spine and a smaller font "GILL" on the scabbard body between the mouth and top ring band. The scabbard is lighter and has the early larger lyre shaped shoe.
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  13. #13
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    Another great beast Will, interesting that yours has no ‘ears’ !

  14. #14
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    Ben do you think the difference in "ears" and the "GILL" marking can date these swords into a time slot? Your sword is marked "E GILL" while mine is "GILL"

  15. #15
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    Mmm, difficult to say, the large lyre shaped shoes on the scabbards look very similar, and I would assume that mine is later as Elizabeth was the last of the main Gill family, however if yours is earlier ( and it’s clearly an 1821 HC) why no ears as they were part of the original design, as per all examples we see, including my 1820 1st LG, 2nd LG’s and the later 1848 RHG. The only slight difference I can see in mine compared to a regular 1821HC (apart from the longer blade length) is that the inscribed line around the guard , as you can just about see, doesn’t turn round on itself at the quillon like the standard pattern does, does yours have the same? Both swords are unusual and worth a mention in someone’s future book I reckon!

  16. #16
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    I believe the same, heart shaped.
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