This type of sword was said to have been used by William Wallace, the legendary Scottish warlord portrayed by Mel Gibson in the 1995 movie, Braveheart. Although Wallace did use a large sword similar to a claymore, his was a bit different from the blades we normally think of when we hear the term claymore. The actual sword used by Wallace, on display in Stirling, Scotland, has no leather-wrapped ricassa and has a blade that angles to a more acute point. It is entirely possible that Wallace used a standard Claymore during his years of battle, but the sword that is regarded as his primary weapon is not the claymore most people think of, therefore we don't sell this as the "William Wallace Sword" as some shops do.
Digression aside, the claymore was an awesome weapon on the battlefield. The amazing reach (as much as 60 inches of overall length for standard claymores)made it extremely difficult for opponents to close with the weilder. The long ricasso allowed the bearer to switch to a more close-quarters style of combat should an opponent make it inside his distance.
The claymore (or more accurately, "Claidheamh-mor" meaning "greatsword" in Gaelic) was first reportedly used in the 15th century, and was used as recently as the 18th century. It was one of three popular weapons used by Highlanders (the other two being the Scottish Dirk and the Highland halberd (an axe on the end of a long pole, often refered to as a pole-arm).
The claymore (or more accurately, "Claidheamh-mor" in Gaelic) was first reportedly used in the 13th century, and was used as recently as the 18th century. The twisted hilt claymore was the most recent of the claymores (c. 1500) and features the downward-angled crosses that end in small honeycomb patterns. The twisted wooden hilt was a better way to grip the sword (and the fact that it looks so damn cool probably had something to do with its broad acceptance among highlanders). Legend has it that a claymore was hurled into the field of battle, toward an opposing army before combat, to signify that the Scottish troops were ready to fight. No real evidence of this, but it’s cool and fits the highlander idiom, so we thought we’d pass it along.