Our German Bastard Sword is a great example of the heavy combat sword of the 16th Century. It is a sword we choose to replicate many years ago and has consistently been a favorite over the years as we have upgraded the piece and discovered more about the sword.
Its attractive hilt is done with a writhed or roped twist to the slightly S shaped cross arms, with a ring on either side of the block. These have decorative file work on the outer face of each ring. The grip is waisted with a riser at the midpoint covered in leather of a color of your choice, the standard piece is done in black. This is all crowned with a globe shaped pommel with diagonal puffed shapes alternating in bare and filed surfaces. This form and style of hilt was very popular in Northern Europe through-out the early part of the 16th Century.
Its weight is hefty for a sword but these large hand and a half or bastard swords where designed for armored combat in the list or war. They have good balance and surprising power in the stiff diamond sectioned blade. They can be used well at the half sword but surprise many with their cleaving ability in the cut. They are a tatami cutting favorite for many that practice that part of the art.We created was this nice longsword originally based on a picture in a book, Arms & Armor by Blackmore. We did not know that it was once owned by Jeffery Farnol a British author and the uncle of Ewart Oakeshott. This is a large bastard sword with impressive heft and may well have been a sword designed for armored combat in the list. We do not know where the sword resides today, most likely in the private market. We would be very interested to hear if anyone has had a chance to handle this original.
Nathan Clough, Ph.D. is Vice President of Arms and Armor and a member of the governing board of The Oakeshott Institute. He is a historical martial artist and a former university professor of cultural geography. He has given presentations on historical arms at events including Longpoint and Combatcon, and presented scholarly papers at, among others, The International Congress on Medieval Studies.
Craig Johnson is the Production Manager of Arms and Armor and Secretary of The Oakeshott Institute. He has taught and published on the history of arms, armor and western martial arts for over 30 years. He has lectured at several schools and Universities, WMAW, HEMAC, 4W, and ICMS at Kalamazoo. His experiences include iron smelting, jousting, theatrical combat instruction and choreography, historical research, European martial arts and crafting weapons and armor since 1985.