Scottish Broadsword and British Singlestick

book cover
(Available to purchase through the Academy of Historical Arts online store.)

Cite this book as:
Farrell, Keith. Scottish Broadsword and British Singlestick. Glasgow: Fallen Rook Publishing, October 2014.

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This book is an introduction to the history, use and context of the Scottish basket-hilted broadsword. As part of the Academy of Historical Arts Study Guide series, it is intended to serve as a study guide for practitioners of historical fencing who work with this weapon, or who would like to begin learning its style. Instructors will also find it helpful as it provides plenty of contextual information to use for illustrating lessons, and anecdotes to help students engage with the system.

Contained within is all the information required for self-study of two fascinating disciplines, Scottish broadsword and British singlestick, with salient points for study for people who do not have the luxury of regular access to a teacher. For practitioners who do receive regular tuition, this book will not replace input from your teacher, but will instead supplement it and offer a greater awareness and understanding of the context of the art that you study.

Keith Farrell is one of the senior instructors for the Academy of Historical Arts, based in Scotland. He teaches HEMA professionally, often at international events, and has an interest in coaching instructors to become better teachers. He is the co-author of the AHA German Longsword Study Guide and has been a member of HEMAC since 2011.

Book Details:
- Author: Keith Farrell
- Publisher: Fallen Rook Publishing
- Date of Publication: 20th October 2014
- ISBN: 978-0-9926735-1-2
- Binding: Perfect-Bound Paperback
- Pages: 354
- Height: 22.86 cm
- Width: 15.24 cm
- Language: English

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: 17th - 19th Century Scotland
1.1 Scottish Royalty and the Jacobite Uprisings
1.2 The Scottish People
- A Warlike Society
- Wealth and Sustenance
- Physical Fitness and Athleticism
- The Scottish Character
1.3 Duels and Single Combats
1.4 The Highland Charge
1.5 Highlanders in the British Army
1.6 Conclusions about Scottish Swordsmanship

Chapter 2: Contextual Information
2.1 About The Art of Defence on Foot
2.2 About its Authors
2.3 About the Weapons
- The Claymore
- Other Highland Swords and Weapons
- Development of the Broadsword
- The Swords of Roworth and Angelo
2.4 How "Scottish" is the Method?

Chapter 3: History of Singlestick in Britain
3.1 Singlestick in Scotland
3.2 Singlestick and Cudgelling in England
3.3 1740: Hobbinol
3.4 1840: Defensive Exercises
3.5 1857: Tom Brown's School Days
- Excerpt from Chapter 2: The Veast
- Analysis of Excerpt
3.6 The Angelo School of Arms
3.7 1882: Hutton's Rules
3.8 1890: Broad-Sword and Single-Stick
3.9 1896: Cassell's Rules
3.10 1904: Singlestick in the Olympics
3.11 1931: Calpe Rules
3.12 The Boarding of the Altmark
3.13 Post-war Singlestick
- 1940s - Colonel Hay
- 1960s - Professor Bert Bracewell
- 1980s - Royal Navy Revival
- 1990s - Dawn Duellists Society
- 2010s - Teaching Singlestick to Children
3.14 Master-at-Arms Badge for Boy Scouts

Chapter 4: The Art of Defence on Foot (1804)

Chapter 5: Salient Points for Study
5.1 Learning How to Strike
5.2 Stance, Posture and Footwork
5.3 The Concepts of Line and Opposition
5.4 Learning the Slip
5.5 Using Taylor's 10 Lessons
- General Notes About the Lessons
- Lesson 1
- Lesson 2
- Lesson 3
- Lesson 4
- Lesson 5
- Lesson 6
- Lesson 7
- Lesson 8
- Lesson 9
- Lesson 10
- Comparing Angelo's and Taylor's Lessons
5.6 Introducing Sparring
5.7 General Training Advice
5.8 Words of Wisdom from History

Appendix A: Timeline of the House of Angelo
Appendix B: Timeline of Publications
Appendix C: Suggested Reading List
Appendix D: Glossary of Terminology
Appendix E: Where to Find Equipment

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Review - 18th March 2016

Jonathan M. Gordon wrote a brief review of the book on

An excellent book for anyone who enjoys the martial history of the British Isles and any historical martial artists working to recreate the systems of the Broadsword and Singlestick. My group uses the Roworth lessons outlined in the book on a regular basis. Overall, a great resource and a great read.

Review - 18th February 2016

Ties Kool has written a brief review of the book on Facebook and also on

I initially bought this book because of my interest in singlestick. I was very pleased with all the material it offered for that subject, interesting background stories, different styles and a very well informed history of the singlestick. But the book offers much, much more. It for example has a very well written part about the Scottish martial arts, creating context for the rest of the book. The transcription of Roworth's The Art Of Defence which is included in the book is clear and easy to work with. I like the way the book reads, it's very well-arranged and accessible to every reader. If you have an interest in single handed weapons I highly recommend adding this book to your collection.

Review - 10th December 2015

Chris Ponkster has written a brief review of the book on Facebook:

Yes it is a great book that is well written - highly recommend from me.

Review - 10th December 2015

Erik Middleton has written a brief review of the book on Facebook:

Its a great book well worth a buy.

Review - 10th December 2015

Jens Magne Andreassen has written a brief review of the book on Facebook:

I bought it when it was released, well worth the price. :)

Review - 10th December 2015

Chris Slee has written an in-depth review of the book on Facebook (posted on his behalf by James Wran), giving plenty of constructive criticism of the work, with the following conclusion:

Farrell adds notes and explanations following the text [Roworth's 1804 book] which are very useful in turning it from an historical treatise into a modern training plan. Of particular note are his observation which highlight aspects of a drill or technique to watch for in order to practice it most effectively. The study guide is two books between the same covers and it seems confused as to what it wants to be. Is it a history of the weapons and their place in Scottish and the wider British society? Is it a broadsword and singlestick training manual? Both books are great and are required reading for anyone interested in these weapons.

Review - 15th July 2015

Joey Nitti posted a brief review of the book on Goodreads::

Great book. Serves as a textbook on broadsword and singlestick. Can easily be used as a foundation to develop a curriculum or teach a class. This book is a great starting point for learning saber, singlestick, broadsword, backsword, or any related system.

Review - 8th May 2015

James Roberts posted an in-depth review of the book on his website, giving plenty of constructive criticism of the work, with the following conclusion:

My students and I have found this book to be an excellent resource, and easy to use, and I definitely recommend it.

Review - 31st January 2015

Jake Hodgson posted a lengthy review of the book on the HEMA Alliance forum, with the following conclusion:

Overall, I have already been recommending this book to my students and friends interested in the history and use of these late period weapons.

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