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Dean Castle Arms and Armour


Mortuary Covenanters Sword



This type of sword was widely and carried by Covenanters from the Scottish Presbyterian movement that played an important part in the history of Scotland during the 17th Century.


The Covenanters are regarded by some as freedom fighters who bravely opposed attempts by the English crown to destroy Scottish religion, culture and identity. Covenanters was the name given to the people of Scotland who signed the National Covenant in 1638, in opposition to religious and political policies introduced by Charles I.


This sword consists of a rusted curved metal basket-hilt with carved wooden grip and rounded pommel and pommel nut. The basket-hilt and bars are screwed to the pommel.  After the execution of King Charles I (1649), basket-hilted swords were made which depicted the face or death mask of the "martyred" king on the hilt. These swords came to be known as "mortuary swords", this sword would have had an intricate face on the ricasso but it has unfortunately been corroded with rust.


This particular sword was found on the grounds of a farm in the Fenwick area.


Dean Castle
Digital Number:
East Ayrshire Council

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