The Expert Sword-Man’s Companion, 1728 (Donald McBane)


An autobiography of Donald McBane, who travelled across Europe pimping, duelling, blowing himself up, and performing other incredible feats of a not always admirable nature.

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About The Expert Sword-Man’s Companion, 1728 (Donald McBane)

“Thanks be to GOD, my En’mies I don’t Fear;
Who was so oft embroil’d in Bloody Wars,
Indent as ’twere and Carry’d with Cuts and Scars;
Which Fortune seem’d to favour and o’er look,
That I might serve you with this Little Book.”

A story so incredible, it was believed to be historical fiction. Donald McBane is a figure from history much loved by those who have had the joy of studying his autobiography. Growing up in Inverness and later joining the British regiments, McBane travelled across Europe pimping, duelling, blowing himself up, and performing other incredible feats of a not always admirable nature. The last we hear of him is when he comes out of his retirement in his fifties to fight one last bout in Edinburgh against an uppity Irish youngster, where he defeated his opponent and walked off with barely a scratch himself. Yet for all his heroic and sometimes crazy actions, he is remembered only for a single act of cowardice on maps marked as the “Soldier’s Leap”.

This is a highly accurate reproduction of McBane’s original work from 1728, created by the historian Ben Kerr. It features reproductions of all the original image plates as well as a full and accurate transcription of McBane’s original text including his teaching on self-defence, an account of his life and adventures and the art of gunnerie.

Ben Kerr is one of the senior instructors for the Academy of Historical Arts. He is a professional historian with a specialisation in the Scottish martial traditions and battlefield arts. Along with his study of HEMA, Ben is an experienced heritage craftsman and his work has been featured in Glasgow’s Burrell Collection. He has been a member of HEMAC since 2012.

Ben is the creator of the facsimiles for The Art of Defence on Foot, 1798 and The Guards and Lessons of the Highland Broadsword, 1799.

Book Details

  • Original Author: Donald McBane
  • Facsimile Creator: Ben Kerr
  • Facsimile Editor: Keith Farrell
  • Facsimile Publisher: Fallen Rook Publishing
  • Date of Publication: 1st January 2015
  • ISBN: 978-0-9926735-5-0
  • Binding: Perfect-Bound Paperback
  • Pages: 218
  • Height: 22.86 cm
  • Width: 15.24 cm
  • Language: English

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • The Expert Sword-Man’s Companion
    • The author to the reader
    • To the Scotish hero, or a poem
    • General directions
    • Particular directions, for pushing at the wall
    • General directions
    • 15 lessons of the smallsword
    • 2 lessons on the rapier and poinard
    • General directions of the guards of the spadroon
    • Back sword
    • The lessons or traversing of these guards
    • When you fight sword and dagger
    • The difference between the buckler and the target
    • Sword and pistol
    • A list of the regiments of horse, dragoons and foot
    • The life of the author
    • Of ordnance for land service
    • An exercise for guns on batteries
    • The beginning and end of man

Cite this Book

McBane, Donald; Ben Kerr (ed.). The Expert Sword-Man’s Companion, 1728. Glasgow: Fallen Rook Publishing, January 2015. ISBN 978-0-9926735-5-0.