An early Scottish dirk associated with the last man to be publicly beheaded in Britain has sold for more than £2,400 at auction in the US.
The weapon, with a blade measuring more than 12 inches, is inscribed in Gaelic with the earliest battle cry of the Fraser of Lovat clan, followers of Jacobite Simon Fraser, 11th Lord of Lovat.
The motto, “A Mhor Fhaiche”, means “The Great Field” and is a reference to a field at Beaufort Castle in Inverness-shire, where clansmen used to assemble for war.
It sold for $3,744 – £2,422 – at Bonhams Auction House in San Francisco.
Fraser was executed at Tower Hill in London in 1747.
Shortly before he was beheaded, a grandstand of spectators collapsed, killing 20 people, to the amusement of Fraser, who by then was in his 80th year.
His gallows humour is credited as the origin of the saying, “laughing your head off”.
Classically-educated Fraser was known for violent feuding, changes of allegiance and for the rape and forced marriage of the widow of the 9th Lord Lovat.
The dirk, a long thrusting dagger, was a personal weapon of officers engaged in naval hand-to-hand combat during the Age of Sail.
It was also the personal sidearm of the officers of Scottish Highland regiments, and Japanese naval officers.