from the book "THE PRINCIPLES OF MASONIC LAW"
A Treatise on the Constitutional Laws, Usages And Landmarks of Freemasonry
by Dr.Albert Gallatin Mackey, 1856
Grand Sword-Bearer.It was an ancient feudal custom, that all great dignitaries should have a sword of state borne before them, as the insignia of their dignity. This usage has to this day been preserved in the Masonic Institution and the Grand Master's sword of state is still borne in all public processions by an officer specially appointed for that purpose. Some years after the reorganization of the Grand Lodge of England, the sword was borne by the Master of the Lodge to which it belonged; but, in 1730, the Duke of Norfolk, being then Grand Master, presented to the Grand Lodge the sword of Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, which had afterwards been used in war by Bernard, Duke of Saxe Weimar and which the Grand Master directed should thereafter be adopted as his sword of state. In consequence of this donation, the office of Grand Sword-Bearer was instituted in the following year. The office is still retained; but some Grand Lodges have changed the name to that of Grand Pursuivant.