I NOTE your article regarding the search for Sir William Wallace's sword (“Wallace sword sparks search”, The Herald, October 3). You may find the following of interest.

In 1888, a sword reputably having belonged to Sir William Wallace was transferred from Dumbarton Castle to the new Wallace Monument at the Abbey Craig in Stirling, after allegedly lying in the castle for nearly 600 years. Despite vigorous attempts by Dumbarton Town Council to prevent it leaving, they were over-ruled by the Secretary of State for War. In the book Dumbarton Castle,by John Irving, printed in 1915, there is an appendix of six pages on the authenticity of the sword. The main points are:

1. The Wallace sword, scabbard and belt is first mentioned in the books of the Lord Treasurer dated December 8, 1505 during one of several visits to Dumbarton by King James IV. A two-handed sword would not have a scabbard and belt, but a baldric hanging from the shoulder. This would indicate a smaller weapon than a 5ft 6in two-handed sword.

2. The inventories of the castle in 1571 by Captain Crawford and in 1696 by Governor Montgomery make no reference to the sword of Wallace. However, the 1644 inventory by Provost Sempill includes an "auld twa-handed sword" but with no reference to Wallace.

3. In 1825 the sword was sent to London for repair and exhibited in the Tower of London.

The Duke of Wellington – the Master General of the Ordnance – directed an expert opinion, which concluded that the sword was of a later period – the 15th century – and could never have been wielded by that great Scottish patriot.

4. The two-handed sword was a ponderous weapon and not the weapon of choice for a leader and horseman.

It is perhaps interesting to speculate that sometime between 1505 and 1571, someone could have acquired the real sword, either as a souvenir or to prevent it falling into the wrong hands.

David Wilson,

11 Fraser Avenue, Dumbarton.