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The Silver Coins of England

Edward Hawkins, 1841
Sole Monarchs of England - Edward I

Table of Contents

Edward I., 1272 to 1307.

The coins of the three first Edwards have always been difficult to separate from each other. Archbishop Sharpe suggested a mode of distinguishing them, but it was Mr. Bartlet, who fixed upon a firm basis the priciples on which several may reasonably be approprated to their respective monarchs. The Episcopal coins of Durham, struck during the reigns of Edward I. II. III., are distinguished by peculiar marks, indicating the prelates under whose sanction they were issued. The coins of Bishop Beck are marked with a cross moline, his family bearing; he held the see from 1283 to 1310, that is, during the last 24 years of Edward I. and the first three years of Edward II. Bishop Kellow held the see from 1313 to 1316, his coins are marked by one limb of the cross, on the reverse, being bent to the left in form of a crozier. Bishop Beaumont held the see from 1316 to 1333, that is, during the eleven last years of Edward II. and first six of Edward III. His coins are marked with a lion rampant, accompanied, generally, by one or more lis, his family arms. Bishop Hatfield held the see from 1345, during the remainder of the reign of Edward III. By a careful comparison of the types and workmanship of the coins of the several bishops with those of the kings, Mr. Barlet dedeuced the rules to ascertain the reigns in which each of the royal coins were struck.

An accurate examination of a great number of these coins, found at Tutbury in 1832, confirms Mr. Bartlet's views, and the conclusion drawn is, that all the coins upon which only EDW. appear belong to Edward I., that those upon which the whole name EDWARDVS appears belong to Edward III., and that all the intermediate modes of writing the name are of Edward II. We must however make some exception to this rule with regard to some pennies which read EDWARD, and add FRA to the king's titles, and therefore must surely belong to Edward III. We must also except a penny in Mr. Cuff's collection, struck at Berwick, which, from the style and the clothing of the shoulders, belongs to Edward I. or II. It appears to read EDW R. ADVS. AN.. but it is so blundered, and one letter so blended with another, that it is not possible to say what the artist intended to write.

Excellent as is the rule, above laid down, for separating the coins of the three Edwards, we believe it to hold good only as regards the pence, and even to that we have seen some exceptions. It will be observed below that we assign to Edward I. gorats, haflpence, and farthings, which read EDWARDVS, on account of their character and style of workmanship. We believe that the shoulders of Edward I. and II. are always clothed, those of Edward III. never; and we consider this mark a sure guide for separating his coins from those of his two predecessors. The drapery is of two forms; it generally represents the cape of the mantle, and is formed of two triangular pieces meeting in a point on the breast, but sometimes is of one equilateral piece curving under the bust.

From the commencement of the reign of Edward I., until after the first coinage of Henry VII., there appears to have been a conventional mode of representing the king's head upon the coin, unchanged by the varied features of the different kings, or by any circumstances of age, size or countenance; any real or imaginary variation being attributable to the mechanical style of the artist, rather than to any attempt to modify the head into a portrait. This king, then, Edward I. as well as his successors, is represented full-faced beardless, the hair spread out at the sides, crowned; the crown being open, decorated with three fleurs de lis, with an intermediate pellet or mall ball; some indication of the slope of the shoulder, and sometimes of the royal mantle. Rev. cross pate, extending to the edge of the coin, and having three pellets in each angle.

All the earlier coins of Edward I were of the usual weight and standard, the pennies being 22 ½ gr.; in his 28th year the weight was reduced to 22 ¼ this difference is so little that the respective coinages cannot now be ascertained by the scale.

To this king I am disposed, from the workmanship and the clothing of the shoulders, to attribute those pieces which are considered the earliest groats, or rather patters for groats; for the few specimens, which are now known, are of very different weights, varying from 80 to 138 gr., and cannot therefore be actually coins. The type is the king's bust, front face, in a quatrefoil compartment, a trefoil in each spandril; rosettes, mullets, or quatrefoils in the field. His style is EDWARDVS DI GRA REX ANGL. Rev. cross fleury, extending to the edge of the coin, three pellets in each angle, legend in two concentric circles, DNS HIBNE or HBNIE DVX AQVT -- LONDONIA CIVI. (290). Rud. ii. 23. Sup. i. 19. Sn. ii. 10.

Other authors have ascribed these groats to Edward III.; and the only coins generally assigned to Edward I. are pennies, halfpence, and farthings. Though coins of the two smaller denominations are said to have been struck by former kings, and a very few such pieces have come down to us, such as a halfpenny of Alfred; one or two of Edward the elder, and of John, yet the want of such small money seems to have been supplied by cutting the pennies into halves and quarters. Several specimens are to be found in almost all reigns, and the freshness of many of them shews that they were probably issued in that state from the various mints.

The pennies of Edward I. read EDW. R. (or REX rarely), ANGL. DNS. HYB. in one instance the words REX and ANGL. are transposed. MB. The Rev. has the name of the city or town where struck, preceded by CIVITAS or VILLA, as the case requires; in one instance only the name of the moneyer, Robert de Hadley, occurs, and it is the last instance of a moneyer's name forming the legend upon any English coin. Many of the coins of Edward I. have small marks upon them, introduced, probably, according to the fancy of the moneyer and without design; but there are some differences of style, size, and workmanship, which appear to indicate different coinages, and of these we imagine we can distinguish three distinct classes.

  1. The letters of a larger size, the MM cross large, the line at the ends extended frequently beyond the termination of each limb.
  2. Letters smaller, cross smaller, and more compact, the coin itself smaller.
  3. Similar to the last, but with a star upon the king's breast. The Exeter and Kingston mints have this mark, and, as they were expressly named as places ofmintage for the coinage of 1300, the coins of other mints, which resemble them and have this mark, are ascribed to this date.
The pennies of Edward I. were struck at London, Berwich, Bristol, Canterbury, Chester, Durham, Exeter, Kingston, Lincoln, Newcastle, Reading, St. Edmondsbury, York, and by Robert de Hadley.

London: of each class. MB. First class, Rud. iii. 1. 3. a coin of this class, differing from the rest somewhat in workmanship, has an annulet between each word of the obv. legend. MB. Another has a rose on the breast. MB. (292). Second class, Rud. Sup. i. 20. Sup. 2. i. 15. 16. Sometimes the Irish obv. the king's head within a triangle, occurs of this mint. Rud. Sup. 2. i. 17. Sup. 2. ii. 28, 29. v. r.

Berwick: VILLA BEREVVICI first class. MB. Rud. Sup. i. 31. or, with a bear's head in one quarter instead of pellets. (291). CUFF. v. r.

Bristol: VILLA BRISTOLLIE, first class. MB. Rud. Sup. i. 23. Second class, VILL BRISTOLIE. MB.

Canterbury: of each class, CIVITAS CANTOR. MB. One of second class reads NGLI instead of TOR. MB. Another TAS instead of TOR. MB. One has the king's head in a triangle, like the Irish money. MB. (294). v. r.

Chester: first class, CIVITAS CESTRIE. MB. (293). Rud. Sup. i. 27. and third class. MB. 2.

Durham: first class, MM cross, DVNELM. MB. DVREME, MB. with cross moline, the arms of Bishop Beck, in first quarter instead of the pellets. MB. Rud. Sup. i. 24. Sn. ii. 6. the cross in these plates, being, erroneously, not moline. Second class? MM cross moline, DVREME. MB. Rud. Sup. 2. i. 26. Those with the cross moline rather scarce.

Exeter: CIVITAS EXONIE, second class. MB. and third. MB. see Rud. Sup. i. 26. r.

Kingston: VILL. KYNGESTON. MB. third class. Rud. Sup. i. 28. r.

Lincoln: CIVTAS LINCOLN, first class. MB. Rud. Sup. i. 25.

Newcastle: VILL NOVICASTRI, second class. MB. VIL NOVCASTRI with a mark over the V. third class MB. (295). Rud. Sup. i. 30.

Reading: VILLA RADINGY, first class, scallp, the arms of the Abbey, instead of pellets in first quarter. MB. Rud. iii. 2. Sn. ii. 7. In these plates the final Y is omitted; in Rud. Sup. 2. i. 27. I is substituted for Y. v. r.

St. Edmundsbury: VILLA S. EDMVNDI, first class. MB. VILL. SCI. EDMVNDI, second class. MB. Rud. Sup. i. 29.

York: CIVITAS EBORACI, first class, cross on rev. plain. MB. Rud. Sup. 2. i. 18. Quatrefoil in centre of cross. MB. 19. Cross on king's breast, quatrefoil in centre of rev. MB. Rud. Sup. 2. ii. 27. Third class; quatrefoil in centre of rev. MB. Rud. iii. 18.

Robert de Hadley: moneyer of St. Edmundsbury in 1280, first class, ROBERT DE HADELEIE. MB. Sn. ii. 5. Rud. ii. 20. The head on this plate belongs to class 3. and we know not of any such coin. ROBERTVS DE HADL. MB. see Rud. ii. 21, 22. where an annulet appears on the king's breast, both rather rare.

Rud. iii. 5. 6. belong to the first class, but as they are without reverses we cannot assign them to any particular place.

Halfpennies of Edward I. reading EDW. R. ANGL. DNS HYB. are known of London. (296). Rud. iii. 20. MB. Bristol, 19. Sn. ii. 2. MB. 1. Lincoln, Rud. iii. 21. MB. 1. r. Newcastle, (298) Rud. Sup. i. 32. Sn. ii. 3. MB. This has only one pellet in each quarter, v. r. York, Rud. Sup. 2. i. 20. reverse only. Berwick, Rud. Sup. i. 33. Sn. ii. 4. reverse only; bear's head in one quarter. These two coins we have not seen.

We assign the following halfpence to Edward I. or, possibly, some of them to Edward II. in consequence of the drapery upon the shoulder; EDWARDVS REX A. Rud. iii. 24. MB. AN? MB. or AN with a star at the end and before LONDON. or ANGL. Rud. iii. 23. or ANGLI. Rud. Sup. i. 36. this weighs 91 gr., and was probably a pattern. It belonged successively to Mr. Hollis, Mr. Dimsdale, and Mr. Thomas.

Bristol: EDWARDVS REX. MB the drapery on this coin not very apparent.

Berwick: EDWARDVS. D. GR'. Rud. Sup. 2. i. 21. MB. or DEI GRA., with a bear's head in two quarters. MB. This object in the reverse has always been called a boar's head, but is intended for that of a bear, in reference to the armorial bearings and name of the place.

Reading: There is a halfpenny of this town which is remarkable for the star in the legend of the obverse, and after VILLA, like the London one of Edward I., but which from the style of work and want of drapery, appears to belong to Edward III. Of the halfpennies, those of London are not uncommon; the others are rare; those most so, which have peculiar marks.

To Edward I. we ascribe such farthings reading EDWARDUS REX, or REX. A. or REX AN., which have drapery upon the shoulders; they are all of London, and have an inner circle; they generally read CIVITAS LONDON. Rud. iii. 28, 29. some of the 1st and 2nd coinage read LONDONIENSIS. 1st coinage. MB. (300). 2nd coinage, Sir H. Ellis, not common. There is one sort which reads REX, and has a star after the legend, and before LONDON, in the same manner as upon one of the halfpence; but it does not appear to have any drapery, and ought, according to our rule, to be ascribed to Edward III. One (297) reads LONDRIENSIS, weighing six grains, and is probably the coin called Lundrensis, struck according to agreement, made in 1279, with William de Turnmere, master of the mint. CUFF, v. r.

To Edward I., or perhaps to Edward II., we ascribe those farthings which have not any inner circle, and read E. R. ANGLIE, or in one instance, E. R. ANGL. D. H. Of these we have London. (299). Rud. iii. 25. MB. Bristol, MB. Lincoln, MB. York, Withy vi. 34. One reads LONDONIENSIS. (301). Rud. iii. 26. Sn. ii. 1. MB. All very rare except London.

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