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WelcomeWelcome to the Lloyd's Swords website where you will find everything that you want to know about these famous swords presented by the Lloyd's Patriotic Fund, 1803-1809, which are viewed by many collectors as the finest Georgian naval swords ever made.
Image courtesy of Bonhams
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This is also a story of lists of those swords. We start in 1891 when the Royal Naval Exhibition was held at Chelsea and was perhaps the first time that the general public came face to face with these wonderful swords. The catalogue of that exhibition not only lists the Lloyd's Swords on display, but also the name and address of the families who lent them. This information was pure gold, particularly for the late Peter Dale who wrote to many of those families to see if they still owned their famous ancestor's sword.
I can remember Peter telling me that in the 1950s, his price for buying a Patriotic Fund sword was £50 for a £50 sword and £100 for a £100 sword, and such were the circumstances of many of the owners that they sold their swords to Peter, who rumour has it, has owned no less than 25 Lloyd's Swords.
In 1970, Sword for Sea Service was completed by May and Annis and in this seminal two volume work was included a complete description of the four types of Lloyd's Swords, £30, £50, £100, £100 Trafalgar, and the first attempt at listing all of those men who were voted the award of a sword. Also included is a catalogue of the National Maritime Museum's holding of Lloyd's Swords, which is quite considerable.
Leslie Southwick continued the search for recipients with the publication of his two very important articles in the journals of the Arms and Armour Society for September 1987 and March 1988. Leslie greatly expanded the subject by tracing the origins of the Greek iconography used in the plaquettes applied to the scabbard and elements of the hilt design for the Lloyd's Swords. These were all influenced by the Greek Revival then current in England. One may also remember that many ships in the Royal Navy were named after the heroes of Ancient Greece.
1993 saw the publication of Britons Strike Home, A History of the Lloyd's Patriotic Fund, by Jim Gawler, who worked for many years for the Patriotic Fund. Jim produced an even more up to date list of those voted swords and also covered the award of vases. Unfortunately the print run of this work was quite small and the edition is now very hard to find.
Lastly, Paul Willcocks decided to see if he could improve on the previously known lists, but also add the current location of the 164 Lloyd's Swords produced. It is Paul's research that has formed the body of the database utilised in this website.
Chris Allen has probably handled and auctioned more Lloyd's Swords than any man alive. It is with the keen eye of Chris along with his extensive memory and notes that the work carried out by Paul has been enhanced. Through Chris's close association with Bonhams, the auctioneer, permission has been gained to use the many wonderful images of Lloyd's Swords that have gone through their rooms. Sim Comfort, who has written Naval Swords and Dirks, has also contributed through his interest in the various battles and hand-to-hand fights that are celebrated by these swords. Mark Cloke, who created the Old Swords website, has applied his talent toward creating the Lloyd's Swords website. Paul, Chris and Sim figure that we certainly couldn't have found a better partner for creating the database and website. We hope you enjoy exploring the site. Our number one hope is that this site will unearth still missing Lloyd's Swords and provide further information which will be included in future updates of the site.
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