The Claymore Sword is a Scottish variant two-handed longsword that appeared in the late medieval period.
Translated from the Scottish Gaelic language it means “Great Sword”. This sword was used in battles during the late medieval period in the 15th century right up until the 17th century and played a vital role in the medieval battles of the Scottish army.
The Claymore sword was used in battles during the 15th and 17th century by the Highlanders in Scotland, it is a sword that has been used in numerous battles during the late medieval period.
“The Claymore Sword was used in Clan warfare and border fights during medieval times and according to research documenting the history of this sword was used extensively in the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689”.
The sword was of a very unique design, with a total length of 140 cm (55in) of which 33 cm (13 in) and 107 cm (42in) was blade. It was classed as a medieval long sword in medieval times, and due to its length and weight of 2.5kg (5.5lb) two hands needed to be used to properly wield the sword.
A wheel pommel was capped off by a crescent-shaped nut and guard. Straight and forward-sloping arms were put into the sword which ended in quatrefoils and languets that ran down the center of the blade from its guard.
During the Late Medieval period the claymore sword made a very important appearance in the battles which took place in Scotland. Due to the sword being the biggest on the field of battle and in order for it to be used correctly the soldier carrying it needed to use both hands at all times.
In battles soldiers would circle the sword around the head to show the enemy that were intending to take off their heads as trophy when the battle was won.
During the 15th and 17th century the Claymore sword was used in various conflicts between the Clans in Scotland and on the borders in battles with England. War chiefs were among the first to use the swords due to their length which made it easier to keep the enemy at a distance.
The most famous battle in which a very large number of these swords were used was the Battle of Killecrankie which was led by the Highland Scottish Clans who were fighting for King James Vll of Scotland against King William of Orange.
The Jacobines won that hard fought battle but it had little effect on the war and their leader was eventually killed in battle.
Picking the right weapon before a battle was very important and many soldiers usually picked the Claymore sword because it had quite a lot of killing potential. The main advantage was its length of 140cm of which 107cm was just the blade. Using the advantage of length that the Claymore Sword gave meant that the enemy could be slain from a longer range than that of a standard medieval sword of those times. If the enemy got too close the guard of the Claymore sword could be used to effectively brush off attacks and strike the enemy, and if they get very close the pummel on the hilt could be used to crack skulls.
Like anything ever made, the Claymore sword had it’s disadvantages and ones that could cause death to its wielder. Due to its length and size the sword is heavy and must be used with two hands, making the soldier vulnerable to projectiles and multiple opponents. Also this weapon did not defend well against smaller bladed weapons which were lighter and could be moved quickly through the air, making them easier to use by agile soldiers. Also If the enemy got close to a warrior with a Claymore Sword they could disarm them easily by attacking one arm which when injured would make the sword too heavy to hold onto with just one hand and leave the soldier exposed to enemy attack.
The most famous recorded person in Scottish History to use the Claymore sword was William Wallace who used this sword in the First War for Scottish Independence. There are many speculations as to whether the sword was really used by William Wallace however because historical documentations show that he was using a Caybeg, which was a lighter and smaller version of sword that could be carried with just one hand.