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Artifacts

Great Sword of State


Top of sword -- pommel, handle
guard, scabbard

Close-up of pommel - inlaid work

Close-up of pommel - inlaid work

Close-up of pommel - inlaid work

Close-up of pommel - inlaid work

Close-up of hilt/scabbard - inlaid work

Close-up of hilt/scabbard - inlaid work

Close-up of scabbard bottom

Close-up of scabbard bottom


Discussion:
From an email dated March 6, 2007:
"The West Kingdom Great Sword of State was originally a higher quality sword specifically ordered and imported by me from Toledo, Spain, after personally visiting and inspecting the forge and shop of the manufacturer. It was then offered for sale by me to it's original purchaser. Subsequently it was given to the Crown of The West as a gift and was declared to be the Kingdom's Great Sword of State. At that point it had acquired a new massive brass wheel pommel with two round inset cabhocon green (jadeite?) stones and a hexagonal brass bar crossguard. The handle was covered with green leather and a twisted wire overbinding, which crossed the handle in an open "X" style, with each wire crossing being secured by a fence post wire fastening type rounded "U" shaped staple. The mountings were not only excessively heavy, but not period in style. These may have been made by Master Beverly Hodgehead, OL, but I don't know for sure.

"I felt a more period style mounting was preferable and secured the King's (King Paul of Bellatrix, as I recall) permission to remount the Great Sword of State in a more suitable and period fasion. I designed the hilt fittings and consulted with former Kingdom Master of Sciences, Master Brian Drittar An Con, OL, who designed the scabbard fittings for the Great Sword of State. I took a Sculpture course at College of Marin, where I cast all the bronze metal fittings and forged the steel pommel for the Great Sword of State. Sir Mark von dem Falkensfenn, OL, made the original enameled heater shield shaped pommel inserts in the Great Sword of State hilt, and Mistress Diane de Winchester, OL, made the enameled disc inserts in the crossguard of the Great Sword of State. (Subseqent damage during the reign of Radnor and Esmirelda required replacement of one (or more?) enameled pommel insert, that may also have been made by Mistress Diane de Winchester). I assembled the hilt fittings on the Great Sword blade and made a leather scabbard to fit the sword's blade. The bronze scabbard fittings were finished from the raw castings and made to fit the scabbard and blade, mostly by Lady Kathleen Treanor, with the final touches and assembly by me.

"I should like to point out that the design of the scabbard of the Great Sword of State was specifically for bearing and not for wearing as a personal weapon. Therefore no belt fittings or accomodations for any were provided.

"The theme of the design of the Great Sword of the Kingdom of the West's Hilt and Scabbard, reflects the major element in the King of the West's Crown, Oak Leaves and Acorns. Besides being more period in style, the entire hilt is designed to be dismountable from the sword blade's tang, so it can be carried safely separately from the blade and scabbard. This also allows any repairs to the sword or hilt fittings to be more easily accomplished, should there be need. The Sword's pommel is made to look like an acorn with it's cap (which unscrews from the blade's threaded tang end and holds the pommel and handle and crossguard securely in place). The scabbard decoration is made from real oak leaves (again taken from the oak tree in San Anselmo overlooking the San Francisco Theological Seminary Tournament site) which were used in the Lost Wax process to cast bronze replica decorated fittings. The handle is made from African Ebony wood, in two halves. The halves were glued together originally, but due to the wood's inherent oily nature, the glue bond has loosened somewhat. Cast bronze end bands support the grip at the pommel and crossguard . A solid bronze band, was intended to encircle the middle of the handle, but due to technical limitations this was omitted. Perhaps it will be done in the near future, now that I have discovered how to do it." -- Henrik of Havn


From an email by Henrik June 4, 2016:
Before the specifics:
Here are my write-ups on the three items.

Hirsch, I think they should be included in the History site's information, especially since I heard some erroneous comments made at Court at Beltane regarding who paid for the Crowns. The populace paid nothing for either project, to my recollection. I donated practically the entire cost of the productions (taking several tuition paid Jewelry and Bronze Casting and Machine Shop classes at College of Marin, to learn the processes and then to produce the castings and components for the Crowns and the Great Sword of State). In addition I bought and paid for the material for more than 93% of the Crowns (100% if including, technically, the 3.5 ounces of silver bullion payment Kevin had given me for a personal project , which I returned to Kevin, some 20 years later, after completing the project) and 100% for the sword and scabbard components (except for enamel, enameling kiln electricity and associated expendables). There never was a "great amount of the cost donated" by anyone else in the Kingdom's populace, as stated at Beltane Court. I could have said something then but didn't since it would have looked like a self serving action and putting another person down to some degree, which I didn't feel would be appropriate.

In 1970 I traveled to Toledo, Spain, an ancient City with a long history of sword making expertise. I visited the Garrido Sword smiths at their smithy, located across the way from the Toledo Bullring, and placed an order with them for numerous high quality unmounted sword blades, each with leather scabbards and wide, long and strong tangs (in order to provide low cost quality swords to interested customers). These I subsequently sold to members of the West Kingdom. Among them was a large sword blade, which had no hilt, that I sold to the son of the Premier SCA Laurel. He subsequently had a hilt made for it and donated it to The West kingdom to be used as the Great Sword of State. In AS IX I felt the Sword needed to have a more period hilt than the non historic one it then had. I got the Permission from the Crown to rehilt the blade and began to make a replacement. I removed the 2 pound brass wheel pommel with glued on malachite cabochons, the wooden handle covered in green suede leather cross gartered with twisted brass wire held in place with galvanized steel fencepost staples, and hexagonal brass rod cross guard bar. These I replaced with a cast and forged curved tapering arm, Bronze Cross Guard, fitted with round enameled inlaid center pieces depicting an Acorn and Oak Leaf, one on each side, surmounted by a contoured and faceted two hand long African Ebony Handle with center swelled ribs and cast Bronze Crown shaped end ferules, and a turned and blued steel Acorn pommel with inlaid enameled heater shaped panels depicting the Arms of the Kingdom, Chivalry, Laurel and Pelican, capped by a cast and turned Bronze Pommel Cap. The sword's original brown leather scabbard with nickel plated chape and tip, was replaced with a custom designed green leather scabbard fitted with Cast Bronze, Oak Leaf covered Chape and Tip, with an Acorn bottom Finial. These latter were made, as were the Silver Crowns, by the Lost Wax process, using the same Oak leaves and Bronze metal.

This Sword's replaced hilt and scabbard were then donated to the Crown and People of The West in AS XI, and was then returned into service in The West Kingdom, where it remains in Service after 40 years.

Credits for work on the Great Sword of State remodel include:


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The West Kingdom History Website was created by and is maintained by Hirsch von Henford (mka Ken Mayer).