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Robert Burns

Sword which belonged to Robert Burns

Georgian Period

This sword is an example of a 17th or 18th century Scottish hanger or whinger.  The hilt comprises of a cast brass double shell guard with a side loop depicting a serpent and the twisted ivory grip has been stained an orange brown.  Burns would have used this sword in the course of his duties as an Excise Officer.


Excise was a tax similar to VAT, but collected at the point of manufacture or import, rather than sale.  Burns had to calculate and collect the tax due on a wide range of goods, notably, silk, tobacco, beer and spirits.  For this he received £50 per year plus £50 per smuggler arrested and a share in any goods confiscated.

metal, steel, brass, ivory
(blade) length 600mm, width 30mm, (hilt) length 150mm
Robert Burns Centre
Accession number:
Digital Number:
BCBN020a; BCBN020b
Dumfries & Galloway Council

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