Kult of Athena


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The William Wallace Sword

It’s that sound at the end of Braveheart, right?

That moment when Hamish, that huge Celtic ginger beast, is about to lose his mind on an overwhelming English army, remember? And he pulls William Wallace’s sword from the half sheath on his back?



It’s just seems tiny in his fist, but, at the same time, also ready to drink a river of English blood.

It’s all leather and steel, tied up with the battered and bloodied piece of tartan cloth from the wedding - you know, the one that looks like it could take out like 3 guys by itself?

Somehow, in that scene, the sword becomes a lightsaber  - ready to take out every smug, slimey Brit on the field.

I love that bit.

But that’s the effect movie swords, and swords that are owned by famous warriors, have on us. Conan’s Atlantean, Arthur’s Excalibur, John Snow’s Longclaw - it makes no difference. I think if our heroes were swinging sporks around at their enemies, we’d be clamoring for the replicas.
Never mind that the Wallace Sword is a prop. Never mind that it had a retractable blade that never really went through anyone (they’d have to pay actors extra for that). Never mind that the real Wallace Sword looks nothing like the one in the movie.
That piece from the film "Braveheart" is remade by everyone from factory wall-hanger sword makers in Pakistan to the boys at Del Tin (la dee da). And it is just plain iconic.

But where did the inspiration for the Braveheart sword come from? The mind of Mel Gibson?


Let’s take a look at the real Wallace Sword, shall we?

In Scotland, there is a monument to this giant of Scottish independence (William Wallace) - and his giant balls - that the public can tour. It’s called The National Wallace Monument. And it’s in Stirling, Scotland.

Visiting there, you’ll be ushered into what I can only imagine is a small, dank-smelling, stone room that holds what could be one of the coolest swords in history.

As you stand there and marvel at it, you realize that The Wallace Sword, as you might expect, is no frills at all. It’s just a 5-foot long piece of rugged iron and brass (??) that probably ended many a family line on some mossy battlefield.
The Stats:

Total Length: 5 feet 8 inches including the hilt
Blade: 4 ft 4 in.
Breadth: Varies from 2.25 inches at the guard to 0.75 inches before the point.
Weight: 6.0 pounds

Imagine the strength it took to wield just such a weapon?!

I highly doubt that Scottish peasants, even ones raiding English military supply trains, would have the sophisticated technology to know how to worry about balance, center of percussion, or perfect taper.

Wallace probably just worried about having the juice to show up to the battle and the guns to swing that thing around all day.


The Guy:

But aside from William Wallace back in the 13th century, and some other kilt-wearing caretakers over the centuries, who makes sure this thing doesn’t go to rust now?

That would be this man: Dr. David Caldwell

He is the one who, everyday, applies all the soothing oils, protective goos, and sweet soothing lullabies to this mega tool of metal death to keep it pretty (and hopefully sharp). He is also the man, I think, whose job I envy most in the universe.

 Today’s Wallace Claymore:

The movie Braveheart did an incredible job of designing, using, and marketing its version of the Wallace Claymore for today’s modern audience. But how do you know which one is the best?

As we stated before everyone has their own versions of this sword:

And, as always, I think it comes down to individual choice. But, there are some general guidelines you can follow to choose the best version: 

Look for the basics: carbon steel blade with a Rockwell hardness, full tang, attractive realistic hilt furniture, the best PRICE, and the right color. Some of the variations come in black or brown or another color, but, again, it will be all up to your preference. 

One thing that might make all the difference: a video.

TraditionalFilipinoWeapons.com has a pretty boner-inspiring video that might tip the scales, if you have the green to support it.



Better still, Tony Swatton, the freak wizard of worthwhile custom steel, created a video of him and his team forging their version of the Wallace Claymore (also 6 to midnight, almost instantly).


For my money, I’m going with the Gen2/Legacy Arms. Their blades are well built (I have 2) and you cant beat their prices. Consult Kult of Athena if you dont believe me. Second place goes to Traditional Filipino Weapons for their rendition (but not their price).

So there you have it. The movie Braveheart has had some pretty blatant historical inaccuracies. And apparently, the sword is one of them.

But, truth be told, I like the movie sword much better!

What do you think? What is your favorite version?

Alba gu Bráth, brothers!

Bonus Tidbit: Aussie Woman Goes on Drunken Braveheart Rampage


  1. The claymore sword is the most famous swords in terms of military and medieval swords.

    1. It's so true, Jennifer. It is easily one one of the most recognized, and well loved. Though it does take some serious strength to swing them. I am getting my custom made Wallace sword tomorrow. Stay tuned for pictures! Thanks for reading!

  2. I would think the Samurai Sword is the most famous in terms of military and medieval swords.

    1. Totally, Mingan. The katana definitely is up there in terms of iconic design and utilitarian design.

      The issue that I have with them is that EVERYONE used them on the Japanese battlefield so legendary examples of them are few and far between. I think that just speaks to how amazing and sought after they were.

      Now, the katana of Tokugawa? Musashi? Tomoe Gozen? Those would be priceless pieces I would put right up there with the Wallace claymore and beyond. Thanks for the read!

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