Commemorative Douglas Sword
silver hilted broadsword dating from 1705, with a much older
Scottish blade from the 14th century, was sold at Bonhams' sale of
Antique Arms and Armour in July 2010.
It had been passed down
through the Douglas family to Sir Alec Douglas Home of the Hirsel,
former British Prime Minister, and sold for £10,800, defeating its
estimate of £7,000-10,000.
The inscriptions and heart
referred to on the sword hark back to a famous journey of Sir James
Douglas to the Holy Land with King Robert the Bruce's heart which
ended with Douglas's death fighting the Moors in Spain in 1330. The
date of 1331 on the blade is almost certainly commemorative.
The story of this crusade with the heart of Robert the Bruce became
part of the Douglas family history and the heart on this sword
recalls the actual earlier sword carried by James Douglas on the
ill-fated crusade to the Holy Land which ended in Moorish Spain.
Robert the Bruce's body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey, and his
heart in Melrose Abbey. His embalmed heart was taken on a crusade to
the Holy Land by his lieutenant and friend Sir James Douglas, but
only reached Moorish Granada where it became a talisman for the
Scottish contingent at the Battle of Teba.
This fine and rare
English silver-hilted broadsword from the Douglas family bears the
maker's mark of Thomas Vicaridge.
It carries an Imperial
crown and a crowned lion rampant between the inscription 'Pro Rege
Et Regno Anno 1331', and on the other with a similar panel enclosing
one of the devices of the Douglas family, a wild man (wodewose) with
a heart on his left breast between the inscription 'For Strength In
Stier This [the heart] I Bier' (for strength in battle this heart I
It was bought, after a bidding war, by a private
collector from Britain. The new owner, who wishes to remain
anonymous, said simply: "It has gone to a Douglas."
unclear who had put the sword up for auction, but members of the
Douglas-Home family said last night that they understood it had been
sold by a relative. The buyer choosing to remain anonymous saying
for the record only “It has gone to a Douglas.”
Sword presented to Sir James
Douglas by Robert the Bruce
2. Douglas swords
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