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Greg Renault

Does size matter?

--when it comes to a sergeant’s pike, that is?   I realize that this ridiculous pole-arm is not relevant to a rifle unit, but I hope that forum members can assist me in determining the appropriate length of a sergeant’s spadroon.  My research so far is inconclusive:

Mike Chappell asserts “The pike was ordered to be 7 ft. long in 1792; it was abolished in 1830”. (Osprey 107; also Osprey 338)

Bryan Fosten  asserts “”In February 1792 the cumbersome sergeants’ halberds were abolished.  Henceforth, until 1830, battalion company, grenadier company and fusilier sergeants carried pikes.  The new weapon had a 9ft. ash staff with a spearhead….” (Osprey 114; also Osprey 119)

I believe that Philip Haythornwaite also says the pikes were 9 ft. in length.

In contrast to these secondary sources, I have found three original sergeant spadroons, all of them 8 ft. long:
• (www.swordforum.com/forums/showthread.php?89616-BRITISH-180-1815-pike)
• (www.opferauction.com/sales/oaSale_031804_4.php)
• I viewed an original in the collection at Ft. York, Toronto, that is 8 ft. overall.

Does anyone have the language for the February 1792 order?  I’m hoping that it provides specifications, rather than something like “to conform to a pattern deposited at Ordnance”.
Richard Warren

The WO circulars are in Strachan. 16 Jan 1792:

"... the pikes which were sent last year for tryal to several regiments of Foot ..."

"... pikes of a similar form with those above mentioned ..."

The circular of 28 Sept 1791 announcing the trials gives no details either. Sorry ....
havercakelad

Simon Love of the 33rd used a measurement he derived after going through the entire spontoon collection of our period that are in the Royal Armouries.
John Waller

havercakelad wrote:
Simon Love of the 33rd used a measurement he derived after going through the entire spontoon collection of our period that are in the Royal Armouries.


Which is just the right size to carry upright on a single decker bus if you screw the point off. Obviously a key factor!
Greg Renault

Quote:
Simon Love of the 33rd used a measurement he derived after going through the entire spontoon collection of our period that are in the Royal Armouries.


Any idea what spontoon length he settled on?

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