William III and the War in Ireland in Twelve Objects: 8. British Army Plug Bayonet
Updated: Jun 1
This late Seventeenth Century Plug Bayonet reflected the changing circumstances of the Glorious Revolution.
The markings on the hilt and guard make reference to ‘Albany’, which demonstrates that this item belonged to a soldier serving with the regiment that was raised by James II prior to his becoming king in 1685.
In the years before becoming king, James Stuart was Duke of York and Albany. After the Third Anglo-Dutch War (1672-74) his Maritime Regiment of Foot were part of a force that was left in Europe to fight alongside the French. That is why, on the hilt guard is stamped the 6th Albany Regiment. If the bayonet is turned over, it reveals a change of allegiance during the Glorious Revolution.
The markings on the lower section of the blade indicate that some, if not all, of the regiment switched sides at the beginning of the Glorious Revolution. This change of allegiance makes the piece quite interesting as it reflects the fact that many soldiers and regiments, who had been serving together prior to 1688, ended up fighting on rival sides during the war in Ireland.
The soldier who used this weapon may have been conscious that the regiment had originally been loyal to James Stuart so etched WR and 1689 on the blade to show his support for William and the Glorious Revolution.