Earl of Northesk’s sword for sale

Duke of Clarence award to 7th Earl of Northesk
Duke of Clarence award to 7th Earl of Northesk

An extremely rare 1805 pattern Naval Officer’s sword, belonging to the 7th Earl of Northesk, is set to go up for auction on July 31, in London.

The item will be auctioned at Bonhams next sale of Antique Arms and Armour in Knightsbridge.

The sword was presented by the Duke of Clarence to Admiral William Carnegie, 7th Earl Of Northesk who was the third most senior officer at Trafalgar.

The sword was made by Prosser, manufacturer to His Majesty and HRH The Duke Of Clarence, is estimated to sell for £5,000 to £8,000.

The weapon has a tapering 82.5 cm blade that is double-edged at the point, engraved with the crowned arms of the Duke of Clarence within the belt of the Order of the Garter, and on the other side with a gilt plaque engraved with the arms of the recipient incorporating ‘Trafalgar’, in original black leather scabbard.

The Duke of Clarence, later King William IV, gave a number of swords to naval officers who had distinguished themselves in various ways.

Admiral William Carnegie GCB, 7th Earl of Northesk (1758-1831) followed his father into the navy at the age of 13. He first served in the American War of Independence aboard the frigate HMS Beaulieu and the ship of the line HMS Sandwich, being involved in the Battle of Martinique in 1780 under Admiral Rodney.

Due to his good conduct Rodney promoted him to Commander and aided his rise to Post Captain in 1782, and was given command of the frigate HMS Enterprise. In 1792 he acceded to the earldom.

At the Battle of Trafalgar, Northesk was the third most senior officer present after Nelson and Collingwood. During the battle he was heavily engaged with the enormous Spanish 130 gun ship Santissima Trinidad, the Brittannia suffering 52 casualties. He was greatly rewarded for his service in action, including a silver vase of £300 value from the Patriotic Fund at Lloyds, however he never served at sea again.

He was initiated into the Order of the Bath, eventually reaching the position of Knight Grand Cross. He also attained the rank of full admiral, the ceremonial post of Rear Admiral of Great Britain and was made Commander-in-chief, Plymouth. He is buried alongside Nelson and Collingwood in the crypt at St Paul’s Cathedral.