A Possibly-Spanish Plug Bayonet

Here’s an unusual “plug” bayonet find. The design appears to be most likely Spanish in origin, or possibly Italian.

Believed to have borrowed the name of the French city of Bayonne, the bayonet rose to prominence as a vital military weapon during the last half of the 17th c. Arriving in Virginia in the 1670s, the first of the type are referred to as “plug” bayonets, being little more than daggers with tapered handles which were “plugged” into the muzzles of the muskets. Earlier iron-mounted examples were quickly replaced by cast-brass hilted bayonets by the late 1680s, and all were obsolete shortly thereafter.

Once British cutlers began to produce bayonets with brass hilts, a myriad of decorative versions appeared, including those with tiny human and animal’s heads and mythical figures. Before 1690, a plain class of plug bayonets had been developed for common soldiers that included a recurved crossguard with swollen quillons, ending in a rounded point. The guard on this example is almost identical to the relic excavated at the Wetherburn Site, and serves to illustrate what the complete weapon would have looked like when it arrived in Virginia, perhaps in the late 17th c.

Colonial Williamsburg E-Museum, Military Plug Bayonet, https://emuseum.history.org/objects/102946/military-plug-bayonet;jsessionid=591A154B7E5DB48356A5EA2B6867ACD1

Here are some similar examples I’ve found:

Description associated w/ the pic: Bayonet: a replica plug bayonet of Spanish origin. An old (?) copy. Horn grip. Plain brass pommel. Triangular blade 9.5″”. Steel crossguard with ball finial (one quillion broken off). Simple engraving to blade. In its brass & leather scabbard, VGC. An interesting replica. a/f
Description associated w/ the pic: Plug bayonet, probably Spanish, circa mid 18th to early 19th century with original scabbard. Blade shows maker mark “L.L.” The blade measures approx. 8-3/8” on edge, approx. 14” overall. Brass ricasso andcrossguard that are lightly engraved. The blade is nicely made and shows some slight edging, normal aging, and is at least very good. Original scabbard is in good condition with normal aging, showing original throatand tip which are seldom encountered. Est: $600 – $1,200

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