May I take this opportunity to join with others in remembering Ewart. I first became professionally involved with arms and armour in and very soon found myself in communication with Ewart on various matters, particularly medieval swords. He encouraged me in my work from the start and I first met Ewart in early , at the second Park Lane arms fair, London. Together with my wife, we were wined and dined and, like many entertained by Ewart and Sybil, were made most welcome. The sweet, or rather the serving of it, will always be memorable: the cheesecake was divvied out by Ewart using a Bronze-age dagger.
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May I take this opportunity to join with others in remembering Ewart. I first became professionally involved with arms and armour in and very soon found myself in communication with Ewart on various matters, particularly medieval swords. He encouraged me in my work from the start and I first met Ewart in early , at the second Park Lane arms fair, London.
Together with my wife, we were wined and dined and, like many entertained by Ewart and Sybil, were made most welcome. The sweet, or rather the serving of it, will always be memorable: the cheesecake was divvied out by Ewart using a Bronze-age dagger.
This of course, although not unusual to him was a first for me, went totally against any museum training and was wonderful to behold! Surrounded by friends and colleagues we celebrated his life and work and of course the publication of his Records of the medieval sword. Like many who are interested in this field it is to Ewart that I owe at least some, if not a great deal of, inspiration. Earlier this year I met with Ewart at the Park Lane arms fair. As we sat and chatted over a whisky, and fate decided that this would be the last occasion we would do this, I told him that I had only recently recalled the fact that the first book on the subject of arms and armour I ever picked up was one of his.
As a teenage schoolboy, sitting in the Much Wenlock public library deep in the heart of rural Shropshire, I pulled a book off a shelf and began reading about A Knight and his Weapons… The same, or a similar, scenario probably happened to many reading this. Even when ill he retained his warmth and sense of humour. During his recent illness when telling me of his regular blood transfusions I made the all too obvious joke about him being a vampire and seeking out virgins blood. His response was to comment on how difficult it was to find virgins blood in Ely!
He was enthusiastic when told of my appointment here at the Royal Armouries last year and it was only on 27 September that I gave a public gallery talk using, for the first time, two of his medieval swords presently on loan here. The public were able to heft these weapons and quite obviously thoroughly enjoyed the experience, even though we did not slice up any cheesecake.
Ewart will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him, either personally or through his works, and our sympathy and thoughts are with Sybil and family.
In some ways we were so different, but there was a bond, which connected us, a love of swords. He loved swords with a great passion all his life, he knew the heft of a sword as soon as he took in his hand, it sang to him. At each end of the table sat Sybil and Ewart. After dinner the table was cleared and the ladies left the men to their brandy and cigars.
Then came the reason for our gathering, the members placed on the table their newest treasures. The sword was then discussed, past around and its story told. When it got to Ewart and he held it in his hand, this benign looking man seems to grow. Although all there had a love of swords, it was not the love that Ewart had.
He would hold the sword as if it was an old friend, that he had not seen for a long time. Taking it in his hand he held it like a warrior, not a collector or an academic. He was a many faceted man, who gave of his Knowledge to all that asked. Amongst all the memories I have of Ewart, this is the last and most special. Ewart was to be made an honourary member of the Guild, but just a couple of weeks before he had taken a bad fall, which put him in hospital.
He insisted that he would get out and be there, and he did and was. He arrived with Sybil; they were both in wheel chairs accompanied by two of their dedicated helpers Esther, her husband Graham and Chris Poor. After dinner, I pushed Ewart to the centre of the dining area, where after a few words from me, he was presented with his honoury membership. He then said he would like to say a few words, but he was not going to speak sitting down.
So with help from Esther and myself he struggled to his feet and spoke. You had to be there to see this old frail man rise in his pride. He was a special man, who I loved and honoured and whose like we shall not see again. Remember, when you read some puffed up academic talking about swords, just think about Ewart. Times folded gates, fast closed to me, These lonely sentinels unbar.
Years do not weary them, nor mar Their power of ancient wizardry; Things old and rare my treasures are Enchantment seeking memory. Scarred wreck of long forgotten war Austere, unchanging, silently Dream, and the drums faint and far Arouse the blazoned years for me. Enchantment wakens memory; Old things and rare my treasures are. That says it all. See you later old friend, keep a place at the table for me. Though in very poor health the last time I saw him, he still had that gleam in his eye when he spoke about his beloved subject.
He was the perfect old world English gentleman, which is how I will always remember him. I owe so much of the refinement of my craft to Ewart.
He will be sorely missed, not only by myself but by the countless others that he touched during his long and fruitful life. I was jubilant, and his books were critical in inspiring me to write my degree dissertation on a particular aspect of armour development.
It was also at this time that I discovered the world of European historical combat treatises, and the passion of my life found a place to reside.
Biography[ edit ] Ronald Ewart Oakeshott was born in His uncle Jeffery Farnol wrote romance novels and swashbucklers and also had a collection of antique swords and through these the young Oakeshott became interested in swords. He worked at the Carlton Studios and at A. Johnson Ltd as a commercial artist.
This varies from blades of constant taper, the edges of which are straight and narrow to a point, to blades devoid of taper, the edges of which are parallel and finish in a rounded point. A fuller is a groove that runs down the middle of a blade, designed to lighten the weapon. This was inspired by his observation that many blades bearing inscriptions and crests had to be oriented this way to be read correctly. At the top, variants of the diamond shape. At the bottom, variants of the lenticular shape.
The Oakeshott Institute