This great Prince improved those good regulations of the Coin begun by his grandfather, who by the severe, but
just punishment of the Jews, in a great measure put a stop to counterfeiting and clipping. But, we find,
it was still practiced by foreigners to bring in counterfeit Sterling, as base Money, as Maile [Camden's
Remains, ch. Money.], and Black-Maile, supposed to be of Copper. To prevent this it was enacted [St. 9
E. 3, cap. 2.], that no counterfeit Money should be brought into the realm, upon forfeiture of such Money;
and that black Money [St. 9 E. 3, cap. 4.] should not be current: and this proving ineffectual, another
statute [St. 18 E. 3, p. 109.] awards an exigent against bringers in of false Money, if they could not be
found, or brought in by attachment or distress: afterwards, the nation being well supplied with good Money, it was made
[St. 25 E. 3. St. 5. cap. 2.] high treason to counterfeit the King's Coin, or to bring in false Money, as the Money
called Lushburg. These were coined [Thoresby, No 195.] at Luxemburg, resembling the true English
Sterling, inscribed EIWANES. DNS. Z. REVB. Reverse, the cross and pellets as the English
Money, LVCEBGENSIS And it was enacted [St. 27 E. 3. St. 2. ch. 14.], that no Money should have common
course in the realm, but the King's Coin. Afterwards, because the Scotch made a practice of carrying out the
good English Money, and recoining it of less value in Scotland, the Scotch pieces [47 E. 3. cap. 2.
48 E. 3. Rymer, tom. 7. p. 41.] of Fourpence were allowed to be current for no more than Threepence, and lesser pieces
in proportion. Other wholesome laws were likewise made to preserve the Coin and bullion in the kingdom. In was
prohibited [St. 9 E. 3. St. 2. cap. 1.] to carry out sterling Money, or silver, or gold plate, without licence or to
melt down any Sterling, Halfpenny, or Farthing: and by a statute [Eng. Hist. Lib. Note, p. 256.] in his seventeenth
year, (never printed) farther provision was made against the exportation of sterling Money, and allowance given for
the currency of such Flemish Coins, (Grosses or others) as were of the like allay: but in his twenty-seventh
year, the nation having plenty of new Money [St. 27 E. 3. St. 2. ch. 14.], merchants bringing silver or gold to the
Exchanges, were permitted to carry out as much of the new bullion, but not old Sterling. Besides the Money brought
in by trade, the King is said [Magn. Britan. in Devonshire.] to have made great profit by the silver mines at
Comb-Martin in Devonshire. As to the coinage of the Money; in his ninth year, it was ordained [St. 9 E.
3. St. 2. cap. 7.], that Exchanges should be made where it pleased the King and council, and the year following [Rymer,
10 E. 3.] Pence and Halfpence were coined by order of Parliament. And besides the King's mints, the charter mints
contributed not a little to answer the public occasions. An author [Bishop Nicholson in his Hist, lib. in Regist. MS.
Monast. de Reading.] gives us the form of a writ upon one of these grants, for coining Money as follows:
Rex dilecto sibi Johanni de Flete custodi cambij nostri London salutem. Cum per cartam nostram concesserimus dilectis nobis in Christo--Abatti & monachis de Radyng, quòd et successores in perpetuum habeat unum monetarium, & unum cuneum, apud dictum locum de Radyng ad monetam ibidem, viz. tam obolos & serlingos, quàm ad sterlingos, prout moris est, fabricandam & faciendam, prout in cartâ nostrâ predictâ plenius continetur: vobis madamus quòd tres cuneos de duro & competenti metallo, unum, viz. pro sterlingis, alium pro obolis, & tertium pro serlingis, pro monetâ apud dictum locum de Radyng faciendâ, de impressione & circumscripturâ quas dictus--Abbas vobis declarabit, sumptibus ipsius abattis, fieri & fabricari faciatis indilate, & eos ad scaccarium nustrum apud Westm. quamprimum poteritis mittatis, ita quòd sint ibidem à die S. Martini. prox futuro in xv. dies, ad ultimum, praefato abbati ex causâ proedictâ librand. T. F. de Shardiche apud Westm. xvii. die Nov. anno regni nostri xii°. From this writ, says the same author, it should seem, that either Abbots, and other greater men, were only permitted to coin smaller pieces, or else, that there was not any greater piece coined here, till after the twelfth year of this King, than a Penny. As to the first conjecture, it is obvious, that when this privilege of coining was first granted, there was no greater Coin than a Penny, nor was there, even at the time of this writ, any larger in common use; and afterwards we have Half Groats of the Bishops' mints: but the last conjecture is undoubtedly true; for the statute of the ninth of Edward the Third, which provides against the melting down of Sterlings, Halfpence, or Farthings, makes no mention of Graots, which it would certainly have done, had such pieces been then current; and therefore, in the next reign, when this statute was confirmed, Groats and Half Groats were added.
In his eighteenth year there was a new coinage [Rastal, No 13.], both of Gold and silver, which was to be made in the city of York, or elsewhere, where the King ordained, in such manner as it was made in the Tower of London. this new Money seems to have been baser or lighter than the old, and not very acceptable to the people, because the same year it was enacted, that no man should be compelled to take the new Money of gold or silver, which the King had ordained to go in payment, at a certain price, within the sum of twenty Shillings. This looks as if Groats had been then coined. But, besides that our historians place it much later, we have a record [A.D. 1350, 25. E. 3. Rymer, tom. 5. p. 708.] in his twenty-fifth year, where it is said, that, by the advice of his privy council, the King caused to be made a new silver Money, viz. one Money to be called a Groat, of the value of four Easterlings, and one Demy-Gross, of the value of two Easterlings, to be current with our Moneies of Easterling, Maille, and Ferling.
So that 'tis probable, the new silver Money here mentioned, was made lighter, raising the value of the silver in the Coin to twenty-two Shillings and Sixpence, as it continued some years afterwards: for,
By indenture [Lownds, p. 36.] the twentieth of Edward the third, a pound weight of old sterling silver, was to make twenty-two Shillings and Sixpence, and Percival de Perche was master; so the Penny must consequently weight, or ought to weigh twenty-one grains and a quarter, instead of twenty-four, the standard weight of the old Penny.
And the like indenture in this twenty-third year, when John Donative, of the castle of Florence, and Philip John Denier were masters and workers, by which indenture were likewise coined Halfpence and Farthings of silver.
But the greatest coinage was in his twenty-fifth year, when Groats were made, and the Money brought down again; there was a great deal coined, because [Stat. 27 Ed. 3. St. 2. cap. 14.] two years afterwards it was allowed to be exported. Of this new Money, Stow [Stow, Annals, p. 251.] gives us the following account. William Edington, Bishop of Winchester, and Treasurer of England, a wise man, but loving the King's commodity, more than the wealth of the realm and common people, caused a new Coin, called a Groat and Half Groat, to be coined; but these were of less weight (in proportion) than the Pence called Easterlings, by reason whereon victuals and merchandize became the dearer through the whole realm: whereupon a statute was made in the Parliament then held at Westminster, to reduce the same to the former rate, which was given before the late great mortality. The Statute [St. 25. E. 3. St. 5. cap. 13. Rastal, 14.] directs, that the Money of gold and silver, which now runneth, shall not be impaired in weight, nor in allay, but as soon as a good way can be found, the same be put in the ancient estate, as in the Sterling. And by the same statute, the officers of the mint were to receive plate of gold and silver by weight, and in the same manner to deliver the Money, when made, by weight, and not by number. But that part of the statute for putting the Money in the ancient estate, was not observed; for, by indenture [Lownds, p. 36.] in the twenty-seventh of Edward the Third, a pound weight of silver, of the old Sterling, was to make by tale seventy-five Grosses, (or Groats) amounting to twenty-five Shillings, a hundred and fifty Half Grosses going for Twopence a-piece, and Henry Brissel was master and worker. By this indenture the Groat was to weigh three penny-weights, four grains, three-quarters. The like [Lownds, p. 17.] in his thirtieth and thirty-seventh year, only adding Half Sterlings, six hundred to the pound; and the same in the forty-sixth year, when Bardet de Malepylys of Florence was master and worker: so that the reduction made in the twenty-fifth year was continued throughout this reign.
As the First Edward was the first of our monarchs who coined a piece of Money called a Groat, Edward the Third was the first that made them a current Coin. Of these there are two sorts; one with the title of France, the other without. His first and last Groats are of the former kind, having his head crowned with an open crown, consisting of three fleurs de lis, and two rays between, like his second great seal (for his first has leaves) within a rose (as it is called) of nine leaves or parts, the points inward, terminating each of them in three pellets triangular; EDWARD. D. G. ( DI. G. or DEI G.) REX. ANGL. Z. FRANC. D. HYB. Reverse, the double circle, divided by the cross, and three pellets in each quarter in the center, POSVI DEVM ADIVTOREM MEVM. Alluding to the prosecution of his title to France, like the motto to his arms, Diew et mon droit; whereby he declared he put his whole trust in God, and the justice of his cause. A motto so well approved by his successors, that it continued to the uniting of the kingdoms, except [Thoresby, No 195.] upon the country mints of Henry the Eighth, the bad Money of Edward the Sixth, and Groats of Queen Mary. The lesser circle has only the place of mintage, CIVITAS LONDON. Some of these Groats are distinguished from others, by a small annulet in the center of the three pellets of one quarter; and whereas there is usually a small cross patè, where the inscription on both sides begins and ends; some have a crown, or coronet, in place of the cross, as a mint-mark. One of York mint has a bell for the mint-mark, CIVITAS EBORACI.
The Half Groats are like the Groats, but have the King's name at length, EDWARDVS, and want DEI GRATIA; some of them FRANC and others, DNS. HYB. One of London mint has FRANCI for Frank; another of York mint wants Meum, and the like.
After the ratification of the treaty of Bretigny in October 1360, King Edward relinquished [Rymer, tom. 6, p. 621. A.D. 1369. Claus. 43 Ed. 3. m. 15. d.] the title of France, and we have no more mention of it upon the Money till 1369, when the King of France having broke the peace, King Edward, by the advice of his Parliament, re-affirmed that title, as he had taken it before the peace. The Money coined during this space of time, is thus inscribed, EDWARD DEI. GRA. REX. ANGL. DNS. HIB. Z. AQVIT. In all other respects like the former. All these Groats have Roman characters, which are supposed [Eng. Hist. lib. Thoresby.] to distinguish them from those of Edward the Fourth, which have the old English characters; but there are some of these latter inscribed Edward. Di. Gra. Rex. Angl. Z. Franc. which, by their weight, (being two Penny-weights, twelve grains) must be Edward the Third's; the full weight of Edward the Fourth's being but two Penny-weights three grains, and few of them reaching that weight by seven or eight grains. One of this sort has a cross croslet the mint-mark, and another a rose, coined perhaps in his forty-third or forty-fourth year, after he re-assumed the title of France, and renewed the war; for he was then in so great want of Money, that notwithstanding the aids of Parliament, he borrowed great sums of private persons; and this Money was made lighter [Walsingham, p. 188.] than the former, to supply his necessities. The alteration in the titles upon these latter Groats, inserting only England and France, and leaving out Ireland, was followed by all his successors upon the silver Money, till Henry the Eighth.
The Pennies are like his father's and grandfathers's, known from them only by the name, Edwardus, at length, and from Edward the Fourth's, by the form of the letters, particularly the N, which in his is Old English or Saxon, but in the three first Edwards, Roman. EDWARDVS REX ANGLIE. Reverse, the cross and pellets, CIVITAS LONDON. One of the York mint has EDWARDVS REX ANGLIE ET, and a rose in the center of the reverse. One of London mint, with annulets in the center of the pellets in each quarter of the cross; another of Durham mint, CIVITAS DVNELM, and other mints. The Halfpennies are like the Pennies. The Farthing, EDWARDVS REX, or REX A. Reverse, the cross and pellets, CIVITAS LONDON. Mintmarks a cross, a mullet of six points, &c.
This King, for any thing that has yet appeared to the contrary, was the first of our monarchs that coined gold Money [TreasureRealm: See notes on the gold penny of Henry III], imitating therein the neighbouring Princes who had done the like some time before. Why they so long forbore to coin gold, I know not (says Camden [Remains, ch. Money.]) unless it were of ignorance, for I think it proceeded not from the law of Justinian the Emperor, who forbad foreign Princes to coin gold. But surely it required no more skill to coin gold than silver; and from the year 1252, if not much sooner, Florins of gold were every where current. The reason why they did not coin gold Money of their own sooner, seems to be, because they had no need of it. A few Florins were sufficient for ordinary payments, and for extraordinary, bullion best answered the end of Money. But as the price of all things increased, the Coin was augmented in proportion. Thus the Penny grew up to a Crown, and silver was turned into gold, which now does little more than supply the place of silver, as it was in the Conqueror's time.
The first gold Coin with us was a Florence, or Florin; for few Princes in Europe but coined pieces of that denomination, the name of Florin being generally applied to all gold Money, because the best gold Money were Florins; but ours were something too light, being coined for the King's benefit [Daniel] towards his wars in France. Stow [Annals; p. 239.] tells us, the King, anno 1342, after the Parliament commanded Florences of gold to be made at the Tower of London; that is to say, the Penny, of the value of six Shillings and eight Pence; the Halfpenny, of the value of three Shillings and four Pence; and a Farthing worth twenty Pence. But he is mistaken both as to the time and value; for anno 1344 [Rymer, A. D. 1344, tom. 5, p. 403.], and the seventeenth of Edward the Third, with the consent of the Prelates and Peers, it was agreed, that three sorts of Money to be made in the Tower; one with two leopards, to be current for six Solds, to be the weight of two small Florins of Florence; the half of it with one leopard, at three Solds, the quarter-part with an healme, of eighteen Deniers, which were commanded to be current in all payments. This is dated at Westminster, the twenty-seventh of January, which falls in the beginning of his seventeenth year, (his reign being reckoned from the twenty-fifth of January.) And the standard and value of these pieces appears by an indenture [Lownds, p. 35.], the next year, between the King and Walter de Dunflower, master and worker of the Monies, whereby every pound of gold of the old standard, viz. twenty-three carats, three grains, and a half fine, and half a grain allay, was to be coined into fifty Florences, to be current at six Shillings a-piece, making in tale fifteen pounds; or into a proportionable number of Half or Quarter Florences, so that they were not of base allay (as Daniel has it) but as fine as the Nobles were afterwards, the difference being in the weight, which did not bear a just proportion to their current value in sterling Money. For this reason it was, those Florins, which had been coined in his seventeenth year, were generally disliked, and refused; and therefore the indenture for the further coinage of this gold Florin, in his eighteenth year, was laid aside, and instead thereof, the same year, a new species of gold Money was made: and because of the great damage [Rymer, tom. 5, p. 424.] that had been found in the first gold Money, the same was to be no longer current, but at the will of the receivers, but to be brought in to be melted down for the value of it. And it is probable they were generally brought in and recoined, for none of them have yet been found, but a Quarter Florin, having on one side a helmet with lambrequins, and the crest of the lion passant guardant, as we see upon his great seal, the field being semè de lys, EDWR. R. ANGL. Z. FRANC. D. HYB. Reverse, a cross flory, with a rose in the center, EXALTABITVR IN GLORIA.
The ninth of July, and eighteenth of Edward the Third by advice of the council [Rymer, tom. 5, p. 416. A. D. 1344. 18 E. 3. a Writ to the Sheriff of London.], three kinds of gold Money were ordained to be made, one to be called the Noble, at six Shillings and eight Pence starling; the Maille Noble at forty Pence sterling, and the Sterling Noble at twenty Pence; which, by indenture [Lownds, p. 35.] with Percival de Perche, were to be made thirty-nine Nobles and a half to the pound, making in tale thirteen Pounds, three Shillings and four Pence. And by this indenture the trial or assay of the pix was established, as a check upon the master of the mint, that the Money made by him was agreeable to the covenants of his indenture. At the same time [Rymer, tom. 5, p. 416.], all persons were forbid to carry out of the realm Money of gold or silver without license, except the new gold Money, under pain of forfeiting the same, and their bodies to the King's will. And it was ordained, that no Money should be received or paid but in the King's Coin, and that none refuse the gold and silver Money, the gold Money at twenty Shillings of Easterlings. But at the same time it was enacted [Stat. Rastal. 13. 18 E. 3, cap. 6.], that none should be compelled to take the said new Money, within the sum of twenty Shillings, against his will. The same Money was to be made in the city of York, or else where it pleased the King, in the manner it was made in the Tower of London.
By the same order that this new Coin was published, a certain rate [Rymer, tom. 5, p. 416.] was settled for exchanging gold for silver, or silver for gold, at the King's Exchange; for it seems, heretofore, persons had been deceived for want of some certain order for exchange, which probbaly was the chief objection to the gold Money; but now the exchange of the gold Money was settled, viz. those that would change gold for Easterlings at the King's Exchange (for no other was allowed) were to take for the Noble of gold, a Penny less than the half Mark; the Maille a Penny less than the value, and the Ferling a Farthing; and those that would but the Noble of gold for Easterlings, to pay a Halfpenny above the value, and for the Maille and Ferling a Farthing. The twentieth of August following [Rymer, tom. 5, p. 424.], the first gold Money was called in to be recoined, and the Nobles absolutely made current, and no persons were to refuse the same under forefeiture of body and goods.
In the twentieth of Edward the Third, the value of a pound of gold in Coin was raised to fourteen pounds, making forty-two Nobles, at six Shillings and eight Pence a piece, or a proportionable number of Half and Quarter Nobles, by indenture [Lownds, p. 36.] with the aforenamed Perceval de Perche; and the like by another indenture in his twenty-third year, when John Donative of the castle of Florence, and Philip Denier were masters and workers. And the King [Rymer, tom. 5, p. 506. 20 E. 3. A. D. 1346.], being desirous his gold Coin called the Noble should be current in Flanders as well as England, for the greater increase of the said Money, viz. Denarii, Oboli, & Quadrantes, called Nobles, appointed persons to treat and agree with the Magistrates of Gandt, Bruges, and Espre, and other places in Flanders, for the striking in his name the said Money, to have a like currency both in England and Flanders.
In his twenty-fifth year there was a great alteration in the Money, by reason, as was alledged [Rymer, tom. 5, p. 708.], that the same being better than that of any other kingdom, had been carried abroad, and base Money brought in, to the damage of the people: whereupon the King, by the advice of his privy council, caused to be made new Money of gold, of like impression and value as it was before, and ordered, that none refuse the said new made Money for the price, viz. the Noble, half a Mark; the Half Noble at three Shillings and four pence; and Ferling at twenty Pence. By this injuction, as well as the reasons alledged for this new coinage, it is plain the Coin was made lighter. Stow says [Annals, p. 252.], it was abated in weight, and yet made to pass at the former value, and that the old Noble was worth much above the taxed value of the new. He does not tell us what the difference was; but as no reduction of the Coin is mentioned afterwards, during this reign, it was doubtless as we find it in the indenture [Lownds, p. 36.] with Henry Brissel, master worker, in the twenty-seventh year, whereby a pound of gold of the old standard was to make forty-five Nobles, or a proportionable number of Half or Quarter Nobles, amounting to fifteen pounds, the exact value of the Florences, which had formerly been refused by the people, and called in, as bad or light Money. That no reduction of the value was made afterwards is manifest, from the statute [25 E. 3. Rast. 14.] of the twenty-fifth of Edward the Third, which enacts, that the Money of gold and silver then current, should not be impaired in weight nor in allay, but as soon as good way might be found, the same should be put in the ancient estate as in the Sterling; but the latter part was never regarded, for we find the same proportions observed in all the subsequent indentures of this reign.
The Nobles first coined, as we have shewn, in the seventeenth year of King Edward the Third, were so called [Camden's Remains], from their purity and excellency, being esteemed the noblest and best Coins then extant; and being of the value of six Shillings and eight ence, from thence the Half Mark, or six Shillings and eight Pence in account, was afterwards called a Noble. The occasion of striking this famous Coin, was not, as Rapin [Vol . 1, p. 428.] invidiously suggests, to perpetuate the memory of an action of little importance, namely for clearing the channel of (what he calls) a few Corsairs, (which, nevertheless, was a memorable action) for they were coined four years before; but to assert King Edward's dominion of the seas, and title to France, and to commemorate his great and glorious naval victory over the French fleet, in 1340, the greatest [Lediard's Naval hist. p. 47, 48.] that ever was obtained at sea before by the English, and the first, where a King of England had commanded in person, wherein the French [Sandford's Genealog. Hist. p. 161.] are said to have lost thirty-thousand men. An action worthy the Monarch of the seas, and to be transmitted down to us, after the Roman manner, upon the best gold Money; so that this Coin may truly be called Noble as well for its beauty and value, as the subject it commemorates, and indeed may be esteemed a Medal as well as a Coin.
This great Prince is therefore very properly represented upon these Nobles as Sovereign of the seas, standing triumphantly in a ship, compleatly armed, the crown upon his head, a naked sword in his right hand, and shield in his left, whereon, as asserting his title to France, he quarters the arms of that kingdom, (being semè de lys) in the first quarter with the arms of England: the first instance of quartering arms by our Kings, either upon their seals or Coins, after the example of Ferdinand the Third, King of Spain, when he united the kingdoms of Castile and Leon. This is likewise the first Money whereon the arms of England appears, viz. three lions passant guardant, though some will have them leopards; and, what is most extraordinary, they are frequently so called in our acts of Parliament, and other publick acts. But, besides that, there is no such creature in nature as a leopard, ex leoena et pardo, the term leopardé relates only to the guardant posture, which can no way alter the property, and in that posture principally consists the majesty of the lion; and from this bearing it was, that our King Richard the First had the nick-name of Cor Leonis. So that the notion of leopards arose from the indiscriminate use of the French term leopardé; for at the same time it was apparent, what they called leopards, were true lions; which, though the French will not admit in terms of blazon, they have often experienced to their cost.
As these Nobles bear the arms of France, they have the title of France, EDWARD. DEI. GRA. REX. ANGL. Z. FRANC. DNX. HYB. but upon his great seal the title of France is placed first, agreeable to the bearing of the arms: whereas before, his titles were Rex. Angl. Dns. Hyb. et Aquit. the title of Aquitaine being now immerged in that of France. Upon the sides of the ship, towards the bottom, are two spikes standing out, and above them in a row three lions of England, and four fleurs de liz, viz. a fleur de lis, and a lion alternately. Reverse, a cross flory, with a fleur de lis at the points, a lion of England under a crown in each quarter, and the Letter E within a small rose in the center, all within a compartment, called a rose of eight parts or leaves, or, as Mr. Eveleyn [Numismata, p. 86.] calls them, eight goderoons; circumscribed with this legend in old English characters, IHC. AVTEM. TRANSIENS. PER. MEDIV. ILLORVM. IBAT, which our alchymists [Camden's Remains, chap, of Money.] profoundly expound, that as Jesus passed invisible, in most secret manner, by the midst of the Pharisees (John viii. 59.) so that gold was made invisible and secret art alchymical, of Raymond Lully in the Tower: but other say, that text was only an amulet, used in that credulous age to escape dangers, superstitiously applying the words of the Gospel, to make the wearers invulnerable. This last conjecture seems most probable; and the occasion of it, no doubt, sprung rom the wonderful preservation of the King, who, by the invisible hand of Providence, past unhurt through the midst of his enemies, in that extraordinary sea fight, which this noble Coin was intended to commemorate.
The Half or Maille Noble, is like the Noble, EDWAR. DEI. G. REX ANGL. Z. FRANC. Reverse, DOMINE. NE. IN FVRORE. TVO. ARGVAS. ME. (Psalm vi. and xxxviii. v. I.)
The Quarter or Ferling Noble, in place of the ship, has an escutcheon with the arms of France and England, quarterly, within a rose, EDWARD. DEI. GRA. REX. ANGL. Reverse, the dcross and lions, without the crowns, and a fleur de lis within the lesser rose in the center, EXALTABITVR IN GLORIA.
The Nobles coined after the treaty of Bretigny, in his thirty-fourth year, when he relinquished the title of France, and before his forty-third year, when he reassumed it, have this epigraphe, EDWARD. DEI. GRA. REX. ANGL. DNS. HYB. Z. AQVIT. (but still quartering the arms of France, to keep up the claim to that kingdom) upon the side of the ship four fleurs de lys, two and two, and two lions alternately. The legends of some of these have the old English N, whereas in the former the N was Roman. Those with the title of Aquitaine, are not so common as them with the title of France, which are in great plenty, and proves the mistake of that observation [Relig. Spelm. p. 207.], that King Edward's victories and designs in France, and elsewhere, exhausted so much treasure, that little or none almost remained in the land; on the contrary, there must have been a prodigious quantity, cosidering the temptation to melt them down, and yet how many are left.
These Nobles were coined in Flanders as well as England, (as I have shewn) in the twentieth year of King Edward; and this he did as King of France, which title he had taken to remove the scruple of the Flemings, and dispense with their oath to the French King, not to bear arms against him: and, in imitation of these, the Earls of Flanders coined the like Nobles, differing in nothing but the arms, the name, and the titles; and the Earls of Holland afterwards used the ship, as allusive to their maritime situation.
King Edward likewise asserted his prerogative as King of France, by coining a French species of gold Coin, called an Escu, resembling those of King Philip. On these he is represented [Antiquary, plate, No 4.] sitting in his chair of state, crowned, holding in his right hand a sword, and with his left a shield, with the arms of France only, all within a rose, EDWARDVS. DEI. GRA. ANGL. Z. FRANCIE. REX. Reverse, the cross rosè, or adorned with roses, within a rose of four leaves, the points of the rose terminating in leaves in the quarters of the cross, and the leaves opposite thereto in the interstices, XPE. VINCIT. XPE. REGNAT. XPE. IMPERAT. This is probably the new gold Coin mentioned by Stow [Annals, p. 259.], which the Prince of Wales caused to be made in Gascony, anno 1355, the Prince being that year [Sandford's Gen. Hist. p. 183.] appointed his father's Lieutenant of Aquitaine.
Le Blanc tells us [Traite des Monoyes, Paris, 4to. 1692, p. 257.], that these Escu's of Edward, were coined in 1339, in answer to Philip who coined such pieces with his figure thereon, holding a drawn sword in the same manner, thereby to let him know he would maintain himself in the possession of his kingdom. But this Money of Philip's was before Edward took upon him the title of France, and therefore can have no relation to it. It is most likely this of King Edward's was coined soon after the battle of Poietiers, when having the King of France prisoner, and a powerful army in the heart of France, he may be said to have been in possession of the kingdom.
The same author likewise informs us, that the lions of gold which succeeded the Escus's in 1338, were so called from the lion at the King's feet, which represented the King of England, over whom King Philip had had the advantage, in the dispute for the crown of France; and it is the more probable, says he, that the King of England was designed by this lion, because upon most of the Money King Edward made in Guyenne, that animal is represented. But this author might have remembered, that Philip had not yet tried the strength of the English lion, and had gained no advantage over King Edward, but by seizing Guyenne: that the lion was the arms of Guyenne, and therefore Philip inserted it upon the Coin, to shew he was in actual possession of that dutchy; and for the same reason the lion was put upon King Edward's Money coined there. Le Blanc [Traite des Monoyes, Paris, 4to. 1692, p. 258.] likewise mentions another French piece, called a George Florin, coined at Orleans, by order of Philip Duke of Orleans, the King's fourth son, made current in February 1340, whereon the King is represented under the figure of St. George, trampling on the dragon, which he will likewise have to signify the King of England; and, perhaps, according to the French humour, it might be so intended, there not having been any such species of Money coined before, or since. But with what propriety the French King could take the figure of St. George, the patron of England, I do not understand, unless in return for King Edward's assuming the title and arms of France. But these sarcastical pieces had no sting, and were retorted upon the maker with a vengeance at the battles of Cressy and Poitiers, after which all the coin and wealth of France was hardly sufficient to pay the ransom of their King, when he had endured near five years captivity in England, and they were reduced to such poverty, that they made use of Leather Money [Philip de Comines.], with a small stud or nail of silver in the middle.
Besides the French Escu, this Prince coined Money in his father's life-time, as Duke of Aquitaine, which was given him by his father [Rymer, tom. 4, p. 165, 166. Sandford, p. 158.], in September 1325, being then in the thirteenth year of his age. A Half Groat of this coinage, which seems to have been struck immediately after the cession of that dutchy, represents him [Antiquary, Plate, No 4.] in his robes, as newly created, and holding a sword in his right hand, ED. -- REG. ANGL. Reverse, the cross, as on the English Money, with a lion passant guardant, and a fleur de lis alternately in the quarters, PRINCEPS -- IE.
The Groat [Antiquary, Plate, No 4.] has his figure in profile, looking to the left, and holding a sword upon his right shoulder, with a rose as the English Groat, ED. -- REGI. -- ANGLIE PS--B. Reverse, the double circle, cross, and pellets in the quarters, --ECP. --EINTT.-- In the latter circle, AQITAN. PRINCEPS.
There is likewise a Half Groat [Thoresby, No 190.] coined by Edward after he was King, having his head crowned, the face inclining to the right, and under it a lion passant guardant, the arms of Aquitaine, EDWARD. REX. ANGL. Reverse, the English cross, with a crown in each quarter.
In the thirty-sixth year of his reign [Sandford, p. 185.], King Edward created his son the Prince of Wales, (nick-named the Black Prince, from his black armour) Prince of Aquitaine, upon which occasion the Prince kept his Court at Bourdeaux, the chief city of that principality, with great state and magnificence; and, as a mark of sovereignty, struck Royals, and Chaises of gold. The Royal resembled the French Coin called a Royal, but with a sword instead of a scepter. The Prince is represented thereon under an antique canopy, of Gothic work, standing upon two lions couchant, guardant, in his robes, cornwed with a chaplet of roses, and a large sword in his right hand, resting upon his shoulder, the back of the canopy adorned with his devise of the ostrich feathers, won from the King of Bohemia at the battle of Cressy, and ever after the badge of the Princes of Wales, ED. PO. GNS. REG. ANG. PNPS. AQTI. Reverse, a compartment or rose, and within it a cross glandé (the points terminating in acorns) between two ostrich feathers, incircling two lions, and as many fleur de lis, placed alternately in each quarter, DNS. AIVTO. PTECIO. ME Z. IIPO. SPAVIT COR MEVM. B. (Psalm xxviii. v. 8.) There seems to have been a pretty many of these coins; though they are now exceedingly scarce, for I find a draught of this piece, with some little difference, in a Dutch placart or ordinance for Money, printed at Antwerp, anno 1633.
The Chaise of gold (about the bigness of a milled Guinea) resembles the French Coin of that name, so called from the chair wherein the Prince sits. As also a masse [Le Blanc, p. 5.] from his holding a masse [mace] or scepter in his hand. This was also struck at Bourdeaux, and has his figure in his robes, sitting in an antique chair, crowned with a chaplet of roses, and another like chaplet in his left hand, holding a scepter in his right, ED. PO. GNS. REGIS. ANGLIE. PNS. AQVITANIE. Reverse, a compartment in the form of a rose, with a cross resembling a cross patè having a lion and fleur de lis alternately in the quarters, DEVS IVDEX. IVSTVS. FORTIS. Z. PACIENS. (Psalm vii. v. 12.)
Whether John King of Castile and Duke of Lancaster, the King's brother, coined Money, I do know know; but he had a license [Rymer, tom. 7, A.D. 1377. 51 E. 3. p. 148.] in 1377 for two years, to coin Money in the city of Bayonne or in the castle of Guissen, or any other place, in Senescalcia Landarum, of gold or silver; and another [Rymer, tom. 7, A.D. 1380. 3 R. 2. P. 244.] such license in 1380, the third of Richard the Second.
In Ireland, there is said [Ward's Antiq. cap. 25, in Irish Hist. lib. p. 162.] to have been an act of state for the coining of Halfpence and Farthings, of such allay, that the pound de Mailles should contain twenty-one Shillings by tale, and as many Felings as made twenty-one Shillings and eleven-pence; which if so, were the best Coins mentioned in this reign. But by a writ two years after in Rymer [12 E. 3. 12 July.], Rex custodi fuo Hiberniae it recites, That whereas there had been made in Ireland black Money called Turneys, the same are prohibited to be given or taken in payment, under forfeiture of the Money and things bought with it; nevertheless permitting the same to be current, till sterling Money be provided. This shews there was a great scarcity of good Money in Ireland at that time; and the followin g year [17 E. 3. 1 March.] it was ordained, for the conveniency of the Irish, that sterling Pence, Halfpence, and Farthings, should be made at the Exchange at Dublin; and, for that purpose, eight pair of dyes, for each sort, should be prepared at the Exchange at London, and sent thither for coining the said Halfpence and Farthings.
This Irish Money has the King's head in the triangular or Irish harp, like those of Edward the First, and the same inscription and reverse: but, if I am not mistaken, these are rather broader than those, the triangle something larger, and have two dots under the head, whereas those of Edward the First have but one: they are likewise a little lighter, not weighing above twenty grains, whereas the others weigh generally one or two and twenty.