We are delighted to again be hosting the UK English Country Backswording finals at Sandringham Game and Country Fair for the fifth year in 2019.
What is a backsword?
A backsword is a type of European sword characterised by having a straight single-edged blade and a hilt with a single-handed grip. It is so called because the triangular cross section gives a flat back edge opposite the cutting edge. Later examples often have a “false edge” on the back near the tip, which was in many cases sharpened to make an actual edge and facilitate thrusting attacks. From around the early 14th century the backsword became the first type of European sword to be fitted with a knuckle guard.
The term “backsword” can also refer to the singlestick, which is used to train for fighting with the backsword, or to the sport or art of fighting in this fashion.
Being easier and cheaper to make than double-edged swords, backswords became the favored sidearm of common infantry, including irregulars such as the Highland Scots, which in Scottish Gaelic were called the claidheamh cuil (back sword), after one of several terms for the distinct types of weapons they used. Backswords were often the secondary weapons of European cavalrymen beginning in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.
But What is Backswording?
Backswording was a rather violent sport where two combatants would try and hit each other over the head with their backswords in order to draw blood. The first to draw an inch of blood was declared the winner.
Of course, we don’t look for blood these days, and competitors are well protected, but it is a fascinating sport to watch and you will pick up loads of history while you do, so head over to the dedicated small arena near the World of Dogs and be transported back in time, while you see if Zak can retain his title.