Scottish Castles Association

Preserving the Past for the Future

Ceremonial Sword and Scabbard Owned by the Sempills of Elliestoun

Sempill Ceremonial Sword Scabbard

Sempill Ceremonial Sword / Scabbard

This large bearing sword, with its leather scabbard, belonged to the Sempills of Elliestoun. It was used for ceremonial purposes only. The sword is two and a half metres long. To help with the carrying of the sword, the pommel has a knob which fitted into a pouch in the front of a leather strap worn by the holder. The pommel and the quillons are made of brass, the blade of steel.

Sempill Sword Scabbard Elliston Castle

Sempill Sword on display and Elliston Castle in Renfrewshire

The Sempill's were stewards of the Barony of Renfrew from the reign of Alexander II (1214-1249), as well as being the Hereditary Sheriffs of Renfrewshire. From the 12th century the Scottish monarchy ruled by granting land and authority to the nobles. Ceremonial swords became symbols of this new power.

It is believed that the Sempill Sword was carried before Mary Queen of Scots at the Battle of Langside.

These items are held by The National Museums of Scotland

Added: 29 Oct 2012 Updated: 29 Mar 2018
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