Alfred Hutton Society

Alfred Hutton FSA (10 March 1839 – 18 December 1910) was a Captian of the King’s Dragoon Guards, writer, antiquarian, and Victorian swordsman. He and a handful of colleagues, most notably Egerton Castle to whom Hutton dedicated his widely known work featuring his art of saber titled: Cold Steel, are said to have originated the first English revival of historical fencing.

My interest in Hutton was kindled when researching the historical European martial art practiced by Dr. Sherlock Holmes as briefly mentioned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Bartitsu, or Baritsu as misspelled by Doyle, was a short-lived system of self-defense devised by E.W. Barton-Wright in Victorian London. Hutton worked extensively with Barton-Wright, and many other instructors, training in a great deal of contemporary Victorian martial systems, east and west. I came to study Hutton’s art through the aforementioned Cold Steel (1889), a very practical treatise on the saber as well as various other weapons, in late 2017. After being properly dismantled during an introductory lesson to Hutton’s saber art by a primary instructor at The Ann Arbor Sword Club, I was left, along with a very tender throat from a well played counter, with an intense eagerness to learn more about the Hutton saber and the system for which it was devised. Aside, an eagerness to learn has been something I have found the need to follow throughout my life and usually accompanies great pleasure, often being its own reward.

The following is a list of Capt. Alfred Hutton’s published works and commentaries. While it is extensive, it is not comprehensive to date.

  • Swordsmanship. Article for the members of the Cameron Fencing Club, 1862.
  • Swordsmanship, for the use of soldiers, 1866.
  • Swordsmanship and bayonet-fencing, 1867.
  • The Cavalry Swordsman, 1867.
  • Bayonet-Fencing and Sword-Practice, 1882.
  • Swordsmanship, for the use of Soldiers, 1887.
  • Cold Steel, a practical treatise on the sabre also on various other weapons of the present day including the short sword-bayonet or dagger, the constable’s truncheon, the great stick or staff and the French sword (small-sword), 1889.
  • Our daggers: or, how to use the new bayonet, 1890.
  • Fixed bayonets. A complete system of fence for the British magazine rifle, explaining the uses of the point, edges, and butt, both in offence and defence: comprising also a glossary of English, French, and Italian terms common to the art of fencing, with a bibliographical list of works affecting the bayonet, 1890.
  • The swordsman. A manual of fence for the three arms, foil, sabre, and bayonet. With an appendix consisting of a code of rules for assaults, competitions, 1891.
  • Old Swordplay – The Systems of Fence in Vogue During the XVIth , XVIIth, and XVIIIth Centuries, with lessons arranged from the works of ancient masters, based on Achille Marozzo’s 1536 Opera Nova, 1892.
  • Our Swordmanship – lecture at the Royal United Service Institution, Whitehall, 1893.
  • Notes on Ancient Fence – Albany Club, Kingston-on-Thames. A descriptive account of the 16th-century swordplay, by members of the school of arms, London Rifle Brigade under the direction of Captain Alfred Hutton, F.S.A. and Ernest Stenson Cooke, Esq. With notes on ‘Ancient fence’ by Captain A. Hutton and on the bibliography of the art of fence, by Captain C.A. Thimm 1896, F.R.G.S. 1895.
  • The infantry sword exercises of 1895, circa 1895.
  • A criticism of the infantry sword exercise of 1895, 1896.
  • Sword fighting and swordplay, The Indian Fencing Review, 1897.
  • The swordsman. A manual of fence for the foil, sabre and bayonet, 1898.
  • Examples of Ju Jitsu, or Japanese Wrestling for Schoolboys. Circa 1900
  • The sword and the centuries or old sword days and old sword ways: being a description of the various swords used in civilized Europe during the last five centuries, and of single combat which have been fought with them, 1901.

Foremost, this resource is dedicated to the memory and legacy of Alfred Hutton FSA. Additionally, I would like to thank the instructors and members at The Ann Arbor Sword Club and The School of the Sword at Eastern Michigan University with special acknowledgment given to Terry Gruber and David Hoornstra for helping to share Historical European Martial Arts with countless learners spanning several decades, a true mark of excellence among those involved in any martial art.