General Wolfe’s Sword


Major General James P. Wolfe (1727-1759) was a British army officer remembered chiefly for his victory over the French in Quebec, where he was killed at the height of battle by injuries from three musket balls.

It is not known how or when General Wolfe’s sword found its way into the Library collection, but by the early nineteenth century it was one of a number of objects displayed and pointed out to visitors by pupils of the school. Many of these were completely fanciful – a boot worn by Queen Elizabeth, Oliver Cromwell’s sword, arrows belonging to Robin Hood – and almost all were eventually removed at the beginning of the twentieth century and given to Salford Museum. Most of the items – real or imagined – are now lost, but General Wolfe’s sword was somehow overlooked and remained at the Library. Perhaps most surprisingly, investigations revealed that the sword had indeed belonged to Wolfe, and appears to date from his time as a young army officer in the 1740s.