Medieval sword sells for £30,000 after being discovered in a garage 


Medieval Highland sword with a broken tip used by elite Scottish warriors in the 15th century sells for £30,000 at auction after being discovered in a garage

  • The rusty sword dates from battles in the Scottish Highlands in the 15th century
  •  It was found in a garage by a son who was clearing his late father’s belongings
  • It was sold off by auction house Hutchinson Scott to a Canadian buyer for £30k

A rusty 600-year-old sword used by Highlander mercenaries has sold for a whopping £30,000.

The medieval weapon, believed to date from the 15th or 16th Century, originated in the Scottish Highlands.

Only a few swords from the era survive, with most displayed in ancestral homes or museums.

The sword was valued at £200 before being sold for 150 times that amount to a Canadian buyer by Hutchinson Scott auction house in Skipton, Yorkshire.

Hutchinson Scott said the dimpled surface of the sword meant it was likely to have been buried, submerged or exposed to the elements for many years.

The 15th or 16th Century used by Highlander mercenaries and valued at £200 which sold for £30,000 to a Canadian buyer

The 15th or 16th Century used by Highlander mercenaries and valued at £200 which sold for £30,000 to a Canadian buyer

Hutchinson Scott also confirmed that the sword’s tip is missing.

The anonymous finder of the weapon was clearing out his recently deceased father’s garage in an undisclosed location. 

The sword is now in London and is due to be shipped to Canada shortly.

The new buyer is paying a 20 per cent buyer’s premium on top of the £30,000 selling price – about £36,000 in total.

Paul Macdonald, a master-at-arms at Edinburgh-based sword makers Macdonald Armouries, had hoped to bid on the artefact and get a bargain.

He had planned to use the item to make a replica out of what he called a ‘very distinctive’ weapon.

‘These swords were incredibly light and incredibly fast,’ Macdonald said.

‘I thought I might get a bargain and I was prepared to go up a bit. 

‘I was surprised when it went up to £6,000 and then £7,000.

Despite being priced out, Macdonald said he was glad its true value had been appreciated. 

‘But really I am glad that it has gone for a price that reflects its true value.

‘Clearly, its significance has been recognised and you can only hope that it has gone to a good home and that it will be looked after.’

Despite its broken tip, the rusty red sword sold for £30,000 after originally being valued at £200

Despite its broken tip, the rusty red sword sold for £30,000 after originally being valued at £200

Macdonald said he had seen three or four other swords of this type, held in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

He believes the sword was used by West Highlander members of the ‘gallowglass’ – the elite mercenary warriors from Scotland who were employed to defend Irish clans from the 13th to 16th centuries.

The gallowglass warriors were hired for their fighting prowess and were seen as effective bodyguards who were unlikely to become involved in local disputes. 

This type of sword was also the weapon of choice for battles in the highlands of Scotland between the English.

The last known battle where this weapon was used was the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689, won by Jacobite supporters of James VII of Scotland against troops of the ruling King William of Orange. 

Jacobean revolts continued into the 18th century, culminating with the Jacobite rising of 1745 led by Charles Edward Stuart, grandson of James VII of Scotland. 

WHAT WAS THE JACOBITE REBELLION of 1745-6?

The 1745 Jacobite Rebellion was a turning point in British history. 

Believing the British throne to be his birthright, Charles Edward Stuart, aka the ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’, planned to invade Great Britain along with his Jacobite followers and remove the Hanoverian ‘usurper’ George II.  

The Jacobites were encouraged and assisted by Britain’s enemies, in particular the French, who saw support for the Stuarts as a way of distracting Britain from its military campaigns overseas.  

There was a series of revolts and major outbreaks in 1708, 1715 and 1719.

Charles launched the rebellion on 19 August 1745 at Glenfinnan in the Scottish Highlands and was successful in capturing Edinburgh.

The 1745 Jacobite Rebellion was a turning point in British history. Believing the British throne to be his birthright, Charles Edward Stuart, aka the 'Bonnie Prince Charlie', planned to invade Great Britain along with his Jacobite followers

The 1745 Jacobite Rebellion was a turning point in British history. Believing the British throne to be his birthright, Charles Edward Stuart, aka the ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’, planned to invade Great Britain along with his Jacobite followers

The Scots agreed at councils to invade England after Charles assured them of Jacobite support and a simultaneous French landing in Southern England.

But on reaching Derby, they decided to turn back as many felt thney had gone too far.

The invasion route had been selected to cross areas considered strongly Jacobite but the promised English support failed to materialise.

They were also now outnumbered and in danger of having their retreat cut off. 

The decision was supported by the vast majority but caused an irretrievable split between Charles and his Scots supporters. 

There was a series of revolts and major outbreaks in 1708, 1715 and 1719. Charles launched the rebellion on 19 August 1745 at Glenfinnan in the Scottish Highlands and was successful in capturing Edinburgh. Here, an impression of the uprising in 1716

 There was a series of revolts and major outbreaks in 1708, 1715 and 1719. Charles launched the rebellion on 19 August 1745 at Glenfinnan in the Scottish Highlands and was successful in capturing Edinburgh. Here, an impression of the uprising in 1716

The battle of Culloden ended in April and completely ended the Rebellion with significant backing for the Stuart cause. 

Charles escaped to France and was unable to win support for another attempt to invade. he died in Rome in 1788.

Fran Caine, Assistant Events Manager at Historic Environment Scotland, said: ‘The Jacobite Risings form an important period in Scottish history. 

‘Spanning around 60 years, these events shaped the Scotland, and in particular the Highlands, of today and their legacy is still visible in battlefields and defences – such as Fort George. 

Fort George was built by the Government after the rebellion in a ‘strategic move to stop any further Risings by the Jacobites’.

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