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An Historical Account of English Money, 3rd Edition

Stephen Martin Leake, Esq, 1793
Richard I

Table of Contents

Richard I. A. D. 1189.

[Note: Original spelling style has not been preserved in this transcription. f is rendered in the modern s, etc. ie, Majefty and Reverfe are presented as Majesty and Reverse resepectively.]

Richard the First is represented rather as a corrupter than a refiner of our English Coin. He was no sooner seated on the throne, than he prepared to leave it, in order to perform the vow he made before his father's death, to go to the holy war. To provide himself for this crusade, besides [Mat. Paris.] ninety thousand pounds of his father's treasure, together with plate, jewels, and precious stones, and [Daniel's Hist. of England, p. 96.] three thousand and sixty marks of silver, and three hundred and five of gold, that came to him by the death of the Bishop of Ely, he used a thousand shifts to gather Money, as if he never meant to return. This so exhausted the nation, that when, afterwards, Money was to be raised to pay his ransom, the Clergy were forced to bring in their chruch-plate, [Stow's Annals, p. 161.] and instead thereof, made use of latten, [Fuller's Holy War, cap. 13. lib. 3. p. 130.] for some hundred years afterwards. It was probably upon this occasion, the Easterlings, [Camden's Remains, ch. Money.] skilful in mint matters and allays, were sent for, to bring the Coin to perfection. Not that the ransom was coined into Money, as Stow [Annals, p. 161.] has it; for, by agreement, it was to be [Danier's Hist. of England, p. 103.] one hundred and fifty thousand marks of pure silver of Cologn weight; but the Easterlings might refine it to the standard agreed, which in all likelihood was sterling, being the purest and finest silver then used, and is called coining, in the sense that tin blocks are said to be coined in the dutchy of Cornwall, and perhaps had some stamp like them, to denote their goodness; and in this respect may be said to be coined into Money, as it answered all the purposes of Money.

After King Richard's return from his imprisonment, notwithstanding the poverty of the nation, he found means to raise more Money, to carry on his designs against France; when he likewise granted licence [Stow, p. 162, from Hoveden.] to Philippe his chaplain, late made Bishop of Durham, to coin Money; which liberty none of his predecessors had enjoyed of long time before. From hence it may be presumed there was Money coined both in the King's and the Bishop's mints, though we have now none remaining. Speed indeed gives us a draught of one of his Pennies having his head full-faced, and crowned with an open crown fleuri, and another head, or rather face, something smaller, joined at the eyes, to the left side of the King's face, the upper part of the head serving to both, the right hand appearing in the legend, holding a sceptre with a cross, having pearls at the points, RICVS R-S REX. Reverse, within the inner circle, a double cross, and a single one in each quarter, exactly like Henry the Second's Money; and had not Speed placed it to this King, I should very readily have concluded it to be the figures of Henry II. and his son, whose heads are properly represented united under one crown, as they reigned together; but I cannot recollect any circumstance of King Richard's reign, whereon to ground such a conjunction, or is there any in the legend to favour it.

Another of this sort in Mr. Thoresby's [Musaeum, No 142.] collection, being broken, has only REX ANGL. legible. According to the draught, the head is joined to the other on the right side, and has a different reverse, viz. a single cross, extending to the edge of the Coin, and three pellets in each quarter, being coined at London; but for want of the name, it determines nothing.

I have never seen, or heard of any other Coins attributed to this King, except one, which, by mistake, is placed under his head in the cut to Rapin's History, being a coin of Edward the elder, having his head full-faced, with a crown like that of Henry the Second, inscribed EDPAERD REX. Reverse, a small cross, and an annulet; which reverse is peculiar to that King's Money, DORR ON EOFERP. Thor. on Eoferwic [York]. The resemblance of the first letter to an R, and the imperfect stamp of the rest, must have occasioned the mistake.


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