Swashbuckling | Paul Wagner

Paul Wagner || Sydney, Australia

Swashbuckling: The English Sword and Buckler Fight of George Silver

During the 16th century, the English Buckler underwent a rather dramatic change in design. John Stowe wrote:

“And whereas untill about the twelfe or thirteenth yeere of Queene Elizabeth, the auncient English fight, of Sworde, and Buckler, was only had in use, the Bucklers then beeing but a foote broad, with a pike of 4. or 5. Inches long, then they beganne to make them full half ell broad, with sharp pikes 10. or 12. Inches long, where with they ment eyther to breake the swordes of their enemies, it if hitte uppon the pike, or els sodainely to runne within them and stabbe, and thrust their Buckler with the pike, into the Face, arme, or Body of their adversay;…every haberdasher then sold Bucklers.”

This change in buckler size and shape was necessary to accommodate the basket-hilted backsword, but had a profound effect on the way the buckler was held and wielded. This class will explore the Elizabethan Sword and Buckler fight, from the days of classic “Swashbuckling” when

“all the high streetes, were much annoyed and troubled with hourely frayes, of sword and buckler men, who tooke pleasure in that bragging fight; and although they made great shew of much furie, and fought often. Yet seldome any man hurt….”

Gear: A sword (preferably a basket hilt, but any single sword will do)
A buckler (ideally a concave English buckler, preferably a large 15 inch buckler, but any buckler will do)
A fencing mask