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A Most Rare Royal Marines Presentation Combat Sword of The China Wars

Named on the blade, with a presentation etched panel, for a RM officer, John Charles Downie Morrieson, who served as a captain and then major in the Royal Marines. Very good gothic hilt with pieced VR cypher, wooden spiral ribbed grip, pipe backed blade and brass field service scabbard. As a Royal Marine officer he served in the naval Battle of Vuelta de Obligado, which took place on the waters of the Paran River on November 20, 1845, between the Argentine Confederation, under the leadership of Juan Manuel de Rosas, and an Anglo-French fleet, and later, in the the China Expedition, the 2nd Opium War of 1857-58. Including the blockade of the Canton River, the landing before, and the storm and capture of the City. He served as Provost Marshal and D.A.A.General to the Army in garrison at Canton. The Second Opium War, the Second Anglo-Chinese War, the Second China War, the Arrow War, or the Anglo-French expedition to China, was a war pitting the British Empire and the Second French Empire against the Qing Dynasty of China, lasting from 1856 to 1860. It was fought over similar issues as the First Opium War.Chinese authorities were reluctant to keep to the terms of the 1842 Treaty of Nanking. They had tried to keep out as many foreign merchants as possible and had victimized Chinese merchants who traded with the British at the treaty ports. To protect those Chinese merchants who were friendly to them in Hong Kong, the British granted their ships British registration in the hope that the Chinese authorities would not interfere with vessels carrying the British flag.

In October 1856, Chinese authorities in Canton seized a vessel called the Arrow, which had been engaged in piracy. The Arrow had formerly been registered as a British ship, and still flew the British flag. The British consul in Canton demanded the immediate release of the crew and an apology for the insult to the British flag. The crew were released, but an apology was not given. In reprisal, the British governor in Hong Kong ordered warships to bombard Canton. The Chinese issue figured prominently in the British general election of March 1857, which Palmerston won with an increased majority. He now felt able to press British claims more vigorously. The French were also eager to be involved after their envoy, Baron Jean-Baptiste Louis Gros, seemingly had his demands ignored (French complaints involved a murdered missionary and French rights in Canton). A strong Anglo-French force under Admiral Sir Michael Seymour occupied Canton (December 1857), then cruised north to capture briefly the Taku forts near Tientsin (May 1858). Negotiations among China, Britain, France, the USA and Russia led to the Tientsin Treaties of June 26-29, 1858, which theoretically brought peace. China agreed to open more treaty ports, to legalize opium importation, to establish a maritime customs service with foreign inspection and to allow foreign legations at Peking and missionaries in the interior.

China soon abrogated the Anglo-French treaties and refused to allow foreign diplomats into Peking. On June 25, 1859 British Admiral Sir James Hope bombarded the forts guarding the mouth of the Hai River, below Tientsin. However, landing parties were repulsed and the British squadron was severely damaged by a surprisingly efficient Chinese garrison.

Anglo-French forces gathered at Hong Kong in May 1860. A joint amphibious expedition moved north to the Gulf of Po Hai. It consisted of 11,000 British under General Sir James Hope Grant and 7,000 French under Lieutenant General Cousin-Montauban. Unopposed landings were made at Pei-Tang (August 1, 1860). The Taku forts were taken by assault with the assistance of the naval forces (August 21). The expedition then advanced up-river from Tientsin. As it approached Peking, the Chinese asked for talks and an armistice. An allied delegation under Sir Harry Smith Parkes was sent to parley, but they were seized and imprisoned (September 18). It was later learned that half of them died under diablocal torture [the notorious so-called Death of a Thousand Cuts]. The expedition pressed ahead, defeating some 30,000 Chinese in two engagements, before reaching the walls of Peking on September 26. Preparations for an assault commenced and the Old Summer Palace (Yuan Ming Yuan) was occupied and looted.

Another Chinese request for peace was accepted and China agreed to all demands. The survivors of the Parkes delegation were returned, though General Grant burned and destroyed the Old Summer Palace in reprisal for the mistreatment of the Parkes party. Ten new treaty ports, including Tientsin, were opened to trade with the western powers, foreign diplomats were to be allowed at Peking, and the opium trade was to be regulated by the Chinese authorities. Kowloon, on the mainland opposite Hong Kong Island, was surrendered to the British. Permission was granted for foreigners (including Protestant and Catholic missionaries) to travel throughout the country. An indemnity of three million ounces of silver was paid to Great Britain and two million to France. The hilt is good with fold down guard the grip is a service replacement [possibly in Chinese service]. The scabbard is good with minor denting, the blade has a good etched panels of Royal cyphers and the name of this officer. Spelling in the Scottish manner with 'ie', his recorded British armed service manner is without the 'e' as usual. Adapted combat service wooden grip

Code: 21450

1495.00 GBP

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“Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. ”

William Shakespeare.

‘The first time I had the pleasure of meeting His Royal Highness was when he visited my school in 1962, and the last time was when he returned to Brighton in 2007. I have never known a time in my life when he hasn’t been at the Queen’s side. For me, England will never be quite the same again.”

Mark Hawkins

Code: 23556


A Fabulous & Most Rare Large Irish Brass Barrelled Flintlock Holster Pistol, Circa 1700's

A stunning and beautiful flintlock, with a lock bearing the maker's name, within a lozenge shaped poincon stamp, of the Irish gunsmith I. O'Shiels. Through diligent research we can find no other example of his fine workmanship surviving in the world today. Therefore, this may well be a unique example of John O'Shiels [the name John was mostly represented in English texts with the letter I prior to 1800] finest quality pistols remaining and still in existence. This is not to say definitively there are no other examples of his work remaining somewhere, maybe within a darkened corner of a distant museum, but we can certainly find no trace of one. The fine brass barrel is not proved which is exactly as we would expect to find, for prior to 1712, there was no requirement or legislation in place, to cover barrel proofing in Ireland, and although officially 1712 was the official date, some were finished with unproved barrels for a decade or so later. Indeed following the Act of Union in 1801 it could be surmised that all barrels would be subject to British proof, either by the Birmingham or London Proof Houses. However, this obviously did not occur, but when barrels were imported from Irish cities, they were later marked with the relevant British proofs. But arms that remained in Ireland may have spent their entire working lives unproved. The barrel is brass and its wonderful walnut stock has a magnificent patina. The butt cap bears the Queen Anne type grotesque butt mask, but most unusually this has a double face, both grimacing one way, and sad, when viewed from the opposite side. Approx 15 inches long overall

Code: 23554

3650.00 GBP

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English Civil War Period Lobster Pot Helmet For Cavalry

A good English Civil War period helmet, circa 1640, with traditional, articulated lobster-tail lames made in several parts and riveted. Extended peak, six ribs skull, with traditional top skull mounted ring. Twin ear flaps, one with leather hinging intact. This super original, English Civil War helmet could be a fabulous companion, to our equally fabulous original English Civil War cavalry breast & back plate cuirass, that actually came from Warwick Castle [sold separately]. Although traditionally associated with the Cromwellian roundheads they were, in reality, worn by both sides. Nicely made example, in overall russetted condition, with surface blacking and small areas metal holing and edge damage by one side of two lames. The New Model Army of England was formed in 1645 by the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War, and was disbanded in 1660 after the Restoration. It differed from other armies in the series of civil wars referred to as the Wars of the Three Kingdoms in that it was intended as an army liable for service anywhere in the country (including in Scotland and Ireland), rather than being tied to a single area or garrison. Its soldiers became full-time professionals, rather than part-time militia. To establish a professional officer corps, the army's leaders were prohibited from having seats in either the House of Lords or House of Commons. This was to encourage their separation from the political or religious factions among the Parliamentarians.

The New Model Army was raised partly from among veteran soldiers who already had deeply held Puritan religious convictions, and partly from conscripts who brought with them many commonly held beliefs about religion or society. Many of its common soldiers therefore held Dissenting or radical views unique among English armies. Although the Army's senior officers did not share many of their soldiers' political opinions, their independence from Parliament led to the Army's willingness to contribute to the overthrow of both the Crown and Parliament's authority, and to establish a short-lived Commonwealth, which included a period of direct military rule. Ultimately, the Army's Generals (particularly Oliver Cromwell) could rely both on the Army's internal discipline and its religious zeal and innate support for the "Good Old Cause" to maintain an essentially dictatorial rule. The New Model Army's elite troops were its Regiments of Horse. They were armed and equipped in the style known at the time as harquebusiers, rather than as heavily armoured cuirassiers. They wore a back-and-front breastplate over a buff leather coat, which itself gave some protection against sword cuts, and normally a "lobster-tailed pot" helmet and a bridle gauntlet on the left hand. The sleeves of the buff coats were often decorated with strips of braid, which may have been arranged in a regimental pattern. Leather "bucket-topped" riding boots gave some protection to the legs.
Regiments were organised into six troops, of one hundred troopers plus officers, non-commissioned officers and specialists (drummers, farriers etc.). Each troop had its own standard, 2 feet (61 cm) square. On the battlefield, a regiment was normally formed as two "divisions" of three troops, one commanded by the regiment's Colonel (or the Major, if the Colonel was not present), the other by the Lieutenant Colonel.

Their discipline was markedly superior to that of their Royalist counterparts. Cromwell specifically forbade his men to gallop after a fleeing enemy, but demanded they hold the battlefield. This meant that the New Model cavalry could charge, break an enemy force, regroup and charge again at another objective. On the other hand, when required to pursue, they did so relentlessly, not breaking ranks to loot abandoned enemy baggage as Royalist horse often did. The iron ear flaps are almost certainly old replacements, one loose and separate. Shown on a display stand [not included]

Code: 23555

2450.00 GBP

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We Re-Open on April 12th! So Mark and David at The Lanes Armoury Are Delighted to Look Forward to Welcoming Personal Visitors To Their Store In Brighton Once More

Mark Hawkins celebrates his 50th year at The Lanes Armoury in 2021, and for David it will very soon be his 40th. And the Hawkins family have been trading in the Lanes and Brighton for over 100 years!, since their grandfather’s return from fighting in the British Army’s North African desert campaign in WW1.

Their maternal great grandfather served in the Boer War, and his father, their great, great grandfather, served in the Zulu War. Their paternal great, grandfather served on the top secret Royal Navy Q Ships in WW1, his son, their grandfather, was a tank engineer in the Allen West Tank factory during WW2 in Brighton, and remarkably suffered a near direct hit from a WW2 bomb, [courtesy of Herr Hitler] but survived to tell the tale. The brother’s father, David senior, served in the RAF, and, periodically, as the world renown aeronautical legend, Sir Barnes Wallis’ bodyguard, so one can see the family are tied irrevocably to the very fabric of the ‘ncos and other ranks’, serving during the past 150 years, in the British Armed forces, and its remarkable history.

The story so far of the partners today; the Hawkins Brothers and "The Lanes Armoury" originally written and updated by Frances Taylor; They are likely the last, true, original 'armoury' shop left in the whole of Britain, offering original prices from the dawn of civilisation to the current day. Original weaponry and armour from the past 4000 years. And flint axes from as long as an incredible 300,000 years ago. They were described [pre-lockdown] as one of the most highly recommended visitors attractions in the whole of the UK by the world renown New York Times. And is now probably the largest original historical militaria webshop in the world, and certainly one of the oldest established still surviving.
‘’ Although we are just a fraction of the size of Tower of London armoury, the most famous armoury in the world, it was a great honour to be included within the same list as the Tower of London in the New York Times” said Mark. It is also regularly featured by many other world wide publications, appearing in too many television programmes to list, including Italian and Japanese documentaries, plus in the past decades the Discovery Channels "Mud Men", and Ian McShane's world famous tv series, "Lovejoy". Several film locations have been filmed in their shops, including Graham Greene's " Brighton Rock", and Roger Moore's film series "The Persuaders", way back in 1971.

Hundreds of thousands of tourists [and regular visitors] come to see them every single year, [barring lockdown of course] including in the 1970's such erstwhile luminaries as President Ronald Reagan, and in the 1960's and 1970's Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Edward G. Robinson, to name but a few. H.M. Queen Elizabeth, and the late and most beloved, HRH Prince Philip came through the Lanes, and their store in the 1980's, and again in 2007. The 'Hawkins brothers' evolved their company from one of the oldest established family businesses in Sussex, with a client base that includes museums, heads of state, presidents, princes and kings. But whether you are a movie star, a head of state or a student, all will be treated with the same courtesy and respect. Every sale is important to them, albeit a £5 badge, a £500 sword, a £50,000 medieval book, or maybe a Gothic suit of armour for £40,000.

Every day they are told that to some, this is their favourite shop in the world, with some foreign visitors returning year in year out for 40 years or even more, so they truly believe they have a great responsibility to their customers, their reputation, and to the amazing city of Brighton. Their oldest customer has incredibly been a regular buyer, for an amazing, near 67 years. To view a little visual history during the past century of their business and shop please click the photo to the left to see more aspects of their store today, and from the distant past. One is a photograph from the outside of their shop taken around 1920, another one from 2020, another is of their family’s 1920's vintage horse drawn pantechnichon [that was still in use for local deliveries until 1969] and one of their 'more modern' trucks used in the 1970's. [You will see the name of the family partnership has evolved with the times]. The partners, Mark and David regularly appear on the BBC and numerous UK TV channels on various antique 'discovery' programs, and act as consultant appraisers. During Mark's 50 years, and David's 39 years [that's 89 years combined] with the family business, it is estimated they have had pass through their hands, and appraised, possibly more items than any other still living dealers in the country, and their breadth of knowledge and experience is simply astonishing. While in his capacity as export director of the old family company Mark was personally responsible for the sale and export of over 2,000 individual antique items every single week for nearly ten years. Shipping their treasures to the four corners of globe, including their associate business in Georgia USA. Of course, these days [and for the past 28 years] the brothers are concentrating their attention to being England's leading specialist arms and militaria dealers, limiting their business to fine, ancient, antique or vintage samurai weaponry, armour, militaria and 1st Edition and historical books, covering the past four millennia. It is now said they are the largest samurai weapon dealers in the western world, and this website is the largest of it's type in the world including over 16,800 full colour photographs of some of their items for sale.

An article, written about their business on City News Live is copied here below, as published;**
With so many different histories to offer, you can feel freer in Brighton than in most British cities to select trips which coincide with your interests and of course, you're much more likely to find in Brighton things to do which bring the history you love to life. For the lover of militaria, a visit to The Lanes Armoury is a must with a difference. The Armoury's housed in a three-storey 16th century building and is a real treasure trove it's a museum which is not a museum as everything is for sale. It has been nominated and short-listed and awarded for the British Antique & Collectors Awards as the best Antique Shop in Great Britain and is the latest incarnation of a much older business, David Hawkins [Brighton] Ltd which was one of the earliest and largest dealers in ArmouryAntiques and Militaria, also Antiques and Collectibles within the whole of Europe in the last century. It's their current specialisation in Arms, Armour, Militaria, and Books which really marks them out and creates such a fascinating and fantastic place to visit.

From bronze-age swords, axes and daggers, suits of samurai and European armour, muskets, revolvers, duelling pistols, American civil war swords, right through to medals and World War II militaria, it's all there to be viewed and drooled over. For example, they have in stock at present a 19th century 'Vampyre Killing Kit', [near identical to one in the Tower Collection] essential for those Victorian trips to the Carpathian mountains and Transylvania, and they had a signed 1st Edition book that once personally belonged to Winston Churchill detailing a story of combat in the American Revolutionary War [now sold to a private museum in the States]. It was presented to him during WW2 and signed by it's author, Robert Graves, one of England's greatest WW1 poets and novelists. It was declared by Churchill, in a personal letter to Robert Graves thanking him for the gift, that it was one of only 6 or 7 novels that he had read during his premiership in the war, and subsequently this very book was used by him to advise the creation and modus operandi of the new British Commandos. They have two pages in a folio from one of the earliest printed books, and a Ist Ed, book of 1479 By Bartolomaeus Platina, and just recently in, an Autographed copy of Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens at just under £25,000 [also now sold]. Plus magnificent original Roman swords, and Viking nobles swords. It's not a museum, although often believed to be, and when you leave, you've really have had the same experience! I can honestly say the experience of a visit to the armoury, although not a vast premises by any means, in fact probably the smallest recommended by the New York Times, but is utterly memorable, and every single person that passed through their doors [while I was there] was either astonished, amazed, or both! But remember, although it looks and feels like a museum, as the brothers reminded me, everything is for sale!.........revised editorial by F.Taylor. We issue our certificate of authenticity with every single item purchased, and in regards to our Japanese items, both weapons and fittings etc. We detail their beauty, approximate age, style and feature of their mounts, plus their potential position in Japanese samurai history. We will also detail the translations [if known] of the names engraved on the nakago of Japanese swords, under their hilt bindings. Our Certificates of Authenticity are our own, unique, version of a lifetime guarantee, detailing the description of any items style, age and beauty, and for our Japanese samurai swords in particular, that is is an original, samurai sword, made and used by samurai both ancient and vintage in Japan, some from almost as long ago as 800 years, through to the 19th century the Meiji era, and beyond into WW2.

Code: 20716


A Pair of Ching Dynasty 17th to 18th Century Cavalry Stirrups

In antiquity, the earliest foot supports consisted of riders placing their feet under a girth or using a simple toe loop. Later, a single stirrup was used as a mounting aid, and paired stirrups appeared after the invention of the treed saddle. The stirrup was invented in China in the first few centuries AD and spread westward through the nomadic peoples of Central Eurasia. The use of paired stirrups is credited to the Chinese Jin Dynasty and came to Europe during the Middle Ages. Some argue that the stirrup was one of the basic tools used to create and spread modern civilization, possibly as important as the wheel or printing press. The stirrup, which gives greater stability to a rider, has been described as one of the most significant inventions in the history of warfare, prior to gunpowder. As a tool allowing expanded use of horses in warfare, the stirrup is often called the third revolutionary step in equipment, after the chariot and the saddle. The basic tactics of mounted warfare were significantly altered by the stirrup. A rider supported by stirrups was less likely to fall off while fighting, and could deliver a blow with a weapon that more fully employed the weight and momentum of horse and rider. Among other advantages, stirrups provided greater balance and support to the rider, which allowed the knight to use a sword more efficiently without falling, especially against infantry adversaries. The Qing [or Ching] dynasty, officially the Great Qing, also called the Qing Empire by itself or the Manchu dynasty by foreigners, was the last imperial dynasty of China, established in 1636 and ruling China from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming dynasty and succeeded by the Republic of China. The Qing multi-cultural empire lasted almost three centuries and formed the territorial base for the modern Chinese state. After conquering "China proper", the Manchus identified their state as "China", and referred to it as Dulimbai Gurun in Manchu (Dulimbai means "central" or "middle," gurun means "nation" or "state"). The emperors equated the lands of the Qing state (including present-day Northeast China, Xinjiang, Mongolia, Tibet and other areas) as "China" in both the Chinese and Manchu languages, defining China as a multi-ethnic state, and rejecting the idea that "China" only meant Han areas. The Qing emperors proclaimed that both Han and non-Han peoples were part of "China". They used both "China" and "Qing" to refer to their state in official documents, international treaties (as the Qing was known internationally as "China" or the "Chinese Empire") and foreign affairs, and "Chinese language" (Dulimbai gurun I bithe) included Chinese, Manchu, and Mongol languages, and "Chinese people" referred to all subjects of the empire. In the Chinese-language versions of its treaties and its maps of the world, the Qing government used "Qing" and "China" interchangeably.

Code: 20708

975.00 GBP

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A Superb Antique Historismus Armour Breastplate Stunningly Etched With Heraldic Beasts

A beautiful piece of chest parade armour, with an etched crest of nobility comprising three winged Griffins and a central Lion rampant within a shield. The Griffin (or Gryphon) is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. Combining the attributes of the "King of the Beasts" and the "King of the Air", it was thought to be especially powerful and majestic. A light armour breastplate, 16th century style in the manner of the 1550's with old restoration. 19th century and earlier.
Parade armour became an elaborate and ornate Renaissance art form intended to both glorify war, and flatter the military prowess of the royal subject. Surviving examples include decorated shields, helmets, and full suits of armour. Delaune was an important contributor to the form, and Henry II of France commissioned a number of similar works, including a panel for his horse, and some bucklers (shields) now in the Louvre, both by Delaune. In addition surviving works for Henry include a full suit at the Museum of Ethnology, Last picture in the gallery is a painting by
Madeleine Boulogne (French, 1648–1710)
Pieces of parade armour, a plumed helmet, a pistol in a case, a gilt ewer, a silver perfume burner, a jewellery box, a trumpet and a flag on a partly-draped cassone. 18.5 inches x 14.5 inches

Code: 21569

1650.00 GBP

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A Very Fine King George IIIrd Period London Flintlock Duelling Pistol

With almost all its original finish present. A 9inch sighted octagonal barrel of Damascus twist steel, engraved Regent Street London, the scroll engraved platinum lined breech with maker's tablet for James Collins of 1,2 Vigo Lane in Regent St., border and scroll engraved stepped and bolted lock, sliding safety, rainproof pan and rolling frizzen . Half stocked with border and superbly scroll engraved steel mounts, horn topped wooden ramrod. A pistol of such quality that if it was a cased pair they would likely be ranked in the £25,000 plus range. Dueling practices and rituals were codified in the Code Duello of 1777 which set forth rules describing all aspects of an "affair of honour," from the time of day during which challenges could be received to the number of shots or wounds required for satisfaction of honour. For gentlemen the law "offered no redress for insults" he might be subject to from rivals and enemies. Shooting a fellow officer in a duel "gave a sharp edge to one's reputation, earned congratulations in the regimental mess, and brought admiring glances from the ladies”. Higher military authorities regarded dueling as a proof test of courage” Although theoretically banned by British Army regulations, refusing a challenge was likely to result in an officer having to leave his regiment, for the same rules that banned dueling forbade an officer from submitting to "opprobrious expressions" or "any conduct from another that should degrade him, or, in the smallest way impeach his courage." To decline a challenge was often equated to defeat by forfeiture, and was sometimes even regarded as dishonorable. Prominent and famous individuals ran an especial risk of being challenged for duels.
Among the most famous duels are the American Burr-Hamilton duel, in which notable Federalist Alexander Hamilton was fatally wounded, and the duel between Duke of Wellington and the 10th Earl of Winchilsea, wherein each participant intentionally missed the other. In New Orleans in 1817 wealthy Creole Bernard de Marigny challenged American blacksmith James Humble to a duel. Humble at nearly seven feet tall had the advantage of size but had never so much as handled a weapon before, and Marigny was only five-nine but a deadly fighter. But by tradition, Humble, as the challenged party, had choice of weapons and location. His choice: the duel would be fought with blacksmith hammers standing in six feet of water in Lake Pontchartrain. Marigny immediately declared that he could not possibly harm a man with such a sense of humor and invited Humble home for dinner. Some were fought over matters of great import, such as Whig leader George Tierney's challenge to William Pitt, after the prime minister accused him of a lack of patriotism; while at the other extreme, in 1721, two Irishmen fought over the correct spelling of a Greek word

Code: 23552

3750.00 GBP

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A Fabulous, and Rare, 19th Century Imperial Russo-Prussian Grenadier's Mitre Cap

A most rarely surviving form of European service helmet. The highly distinctive mitre cap was in use by grenadier regiments of three principle nations [mostly British, Prussian and Russian] since the mid 18th century, they were used continually by the Russo-Prussians alone into the Napoleonic wars, in the early 19th century, right though in fact to the early 20th century, but they ceased to be used by the British in the end of the 18th century. The mitre cap is an extraordinary form of helmet that was both elaborate and decorative but also as a form of intimidation, to increase the perception of the height of a grenadier, yet still most functional for defence against sword cuts and slashes. Wih the helmets construction, a combination of cloth and pressed metal, creating a most effective ‘crumple zone’ against a slashing blade impact upon the soldiers head. The rarest of all the surviving mitre caps is beyond doubt the British, as they were in use for the shortest period of time and were entirely made of cloth, and that material survives poorly over 3 centuries. The Russian and Prussian examples had elements of metal within the helmets stamped crest frontispieces and frame, and, they were in use for longer, some into the WW1 period. However, all surviving examples are now very scarce indeed, and complete examples are most especially rare. The 18th and 19th century examples being the most rarest of all. The mitre cap, whether in stiffened cloth or metal, had become the distinguishing feature of the grenadier in the armies of Britain, Russia, Prussia and most German states during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. While Northern-European armies such as Britain, Russia, Sweden and various German states (perhaps most famously Prussia) wore the mitre cap, the southern countries, such as France, Spain, Austria, Portugal and various Italian states preferred the bearskin cap. By 1768 Britain too had adopted the bearskin. By the advent of the Napoleonic Wars, both mitres caps and fur caps had begun to fall out of use in favour of the shako. Two major exceptions were France's Grande Armee (although in 1812, regulations changed grenadier uniforms to those more similar to the ones of fusiliers, except in guard regiments) and the Austrian Army. After the Battle of Friedland in 1807, because of their distinguished performance, Russia's Pavlovsk Regiment were allowed to keep their mitre caps and were admitted to the Imperial Guard. In 1914 the Imperial German and Russian Armies still included a number of grenadier regiments. In the Russian Army these comprised the Grenadier Guards Regiment (L-G Grenadierski Polk) as well as the Grenadier Corps of sixteen regiments (plus an independent reinforced company of Palace Grenadiers, guarding the St. Petersburg Imperial residences). Five regiments of the Prussian Guard were designated as Garde-Grenadiers and there were an additional fourteen regiment of grenadiers amongst the line infantry of the German Empire. In both the Russian and German armies the grenadier regiments were considered a historic elite, distinguished by features such as plumed helmets in full dress, distinctive facings (yellow for all Russian grenadiers) or special braiding. A grenadier derived from the word grenade, and was originally a specialized soldier, first established as a distinct role in the mid-to-late 17th century, for the throwing of grenades and sometimes assault operations. At that time grenadiers were chosen from the strongest and largest soldiers. By the 18th century, dedicated grenade throwing of this sort was no longer relevant, but grenadiers were still chosen for being the most physically powerful soldiers and would lead assaults in the field of battle. Grenadiers would also often lead the storming of fortification breaches in siege warfare, although this role was more usually fulfilled by all-arm units of volunteers called forlorn hopes, and might also be fulfilled by sappers or pioneers.

Code: 22034

3950.00 GBP

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A Very Fine and Beautiful 16th Century Conquistadors Morion Helmet

The traditional 'pear stalk crown' with wide upslanting brim. All the lining rivets intact. Small hole in the rear brim to attach feather plumes or to hang the helmet behind the soldiers backplate armour when not worn. Taken as war booty from the Spanish fleet's attempt to destroy the British using its seemingly unstoppable Armada of 130 ships against Queen Elizabeth Ist. Met by the British fleet, under Sir Francis Drake's commanded, he engaged the superior gunned Spanish during a storm, that ultimately led to his fleet smacking the bottoms of the Spanish, and effectively crushed the planned invasion. The Spanish fleet fled in fear and mostly met its doom on the coast of Ireland, and North Britain caught in persistant storms and foul weather. The Spanish Armada campaign of 1588 changed the course of European history. If Medina Sidonia, the Spanish commander, had managed to escort Philip II’s 26,000-strong invasion army from Flanders, the future of Elizabeth I and her Protestant England would have looked very black indeed.

After landing near Margate in Kent, it is probable the battle-hardened Spanish troops would have been in the streets of London within a week. England would have reverted to the Catholic faith, and there may not have been a British empire to come. We might still be speaking Spanish today.

But Medina Sidonia suffered one of the most signal catastrophes in naval history.

The Spanish were not only defeated by the queen?s plucky sea dogs fighting against overwhelming odds: it was utterly destroyed by appalling weather, poor planning and flawed strategy and tactics. Interestingly at least four of Medina's so-called gentlemen adventurers were English, and there were 18 among the salaried officers.

Inevitably, some of the traitorous swine paid the heavy price of disloyalty to the British crown: five Catholics slipped away by boat from the stricken Rosario before Drake’s arrival, but two Englishmen were captured on board and taken to the Tower of London as rebels and traitors to their country.

One, identified as the Cornishman Tristram Winslade, was handed to officers employed by Elizabeth’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, who were ordered to interrogate him using torture at their pleasure. Miraculously, Winslade survived the rack and Elizabeth’s justice, and died in the Catholic seminary at Douai in France in November 1605).

On board the battle-damaged San Mateo, beached between Ostend and Sluis after the battle of Gravelines, two Englishmen were killed by Dutch sailors one named as William Browne, a brother of Viscount Montague. The local commissioner for the Protestant States of Zeeland reported that the second man killed was very rich, who left William as his heir.

Other Englishmen were reported to having been aboard this ship, eating with her captain, Don Diego Pimentel. One was called Robert, another Raphael, once servant to the mayor of London. We do not know their surnames. They may have been among those forcibly drowned or hanged by the Dutch who were rebelling against Spanish rule. Medina, however, was no fool and although a great commander and considering his appointment as admiral of the Armada for two days, Medina Sidonia made clear his absolute conviction that the Armada expedition was a grave mistake and had little chance of success. Only a miracle, he added in a frank and outspoken letter, could save it.

King Philip of Spain’s counsellors, horror-struck at its electrifying contents, dared not show it to the king. ‘Do not depress us with fears for the fate of the Armada because in such a cause, God will make sure it succeeds” they begged the new admiral.
As for his suitability for command, “nobody knows more about naval affairs than you “ they stated.
Then their tone became menacing: “Remember that the reputation and esteem you currently enjoy for courage and wisdom would entirely be forfeited if what you wrote to us became generally known (although we shall keep it secret)”. The Spanish Armada was not the last Armada sent against England. Two more were despatched in 1596 and 1597, but these fleets were also dispersed by storms.

Code: 21777

2595.00 GBP

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