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An Historical Account of English Money, 3rd Edition
Stephen Martin Leake, Esq, 1793
Edward IV

Edward IV. A. D. 1460.

[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.]

The first ordinance concerning Money in this reign, was in the third year, enacting, [St. 3 E. 4, cap. 1.] that all bullion of gold and silver, paid for merchandize at the staple, should be coined at the mint at Calais. It was afterwards [St. 17 E. 4, cap. 1.] made felony to carry Coin or plate out of the kingdom without licence, and that no one should melt Money of gold or silver, sufficient to run in payment, under forefeiture of the value thereof, and Irish Money was forbid to run in payment in England or Wales, upon pain of forfeiture.

The Money continued of the same standard and value, as in the two preceding reigns, viz. the pound of gold making sixteen Pounds, thirteen Shillings and Fourpence in tale, and the silver thirty Shillings. But in his fourth year, [Lownds, p. 40. Stow's Ann. p. 419. Survey Lond. lib. 1. p. 83.] William Lord Hastings, the King's Chamberlain, being made master of the mints throughout England, Ireland, and town of Calais, both gold and silver was raised a quarter part, viz. the Noble to eight Shillings and Fourpence, and the parts of it in proportion; the pound of gold making in tale twenty Pounds sixteen Shillings, and Eightpence, and the pound of silver making a hundred and twelve Groats and a half, or thirty-seven Shillings an Sixpence in tale.

The next year, [Lownds, p. 40.] the pound of gold in Coin was raised to twenty-two Pounds, ten Shillings, viz. forty-five Nobles, or Rials, going for ten Shillings each, Halves and Quarters; or sixty-seven and a half of the pieces impressed with Angels, going for six Shillings and Eightpence each: the pound of silver to make thirty-seven Shillings and Sixpence in Coin, as before by indenture with the aforesaid William Lord Hastings (which proportion was observed by King Henry the Sixth, when he coined Money upon his restoration, and in his forty-ninth year.) And the like indentures [Lownds, p. 41.] were made for coinage with the Lord Hastings, in the eighth, eleventh, and sixteenth years of Edward the Fourth, and in his twenty-second year, with Bartholomew Read master worker; by which it appears the same proportion and value was continued throughout the reign.

The first Nobles coined before his fifth year, I apprehend, were like those of King Edward the Third's, (for Stow tells us, [Annals, p. 418, 149.] the new ones were smitten with a new stamp) and distinguished by the arms of France, which in those are only three fleurs de lis; whereas in these it is semè; for there are draughts of such in two [Folio, Antwerp, 1633, 4to. Gravenhaghe, 1626.] Dutch ordinances for Coins in 1633, and 1626, in both which the legend is, EDWARD. DEI. GRA. REX. ANGLIE. FRANC. D. HYB.

The new Nobles, called Rials, borrowed that name no doubt from the French Rial or Royal (so called [Le Blanc, 180.] from the figure of the King thereon in his royal robes) and it was very proper they should obtain the new name, when they were no longer a Noble in value. It must have created great confusion to have had Nobles in account, and Nobles in specie, of different values. For the same reason the new species of Money coined at the same time, called Angels, being the value of a Noble, were called [Rymer, tom. 12, p. 115.] Noble-Angels.

The Rial Nobles are like the old Nobles, only a little broader, having a square flag at the stern of the ship, with the initial letter E, in the old English character, and the addition of a rose [Rymer's Foedera, tom. 12, p. 115, 20 E. 4.] upon the side of the ship, different from all the Nobles coined before; from whence they were called Rose-Nobles, or Rose-Rials. Some of these are likewise marked with the initial letter of the name of the place of coinage, either upon the King's breast, or under the ship, as E for York, or B for Bristol. EDWARD. DI. GRA. REX. ANGL. Z. FRANC. DNS. IB. Reverse, the usual legend, IHC. AVTEM. TRANSIENS. PER. MEDIVM. ILLORVM. HIBAT. And instead of the cross, a sun, with a rose in the centre; the white rose being the badge of the house of York, as the red was that of Lancaster, and the sun was taken by this King, for his devise, after the battle of Mortimer's Cross, when three suns are said to appear before the battle and suddenly join in one; which taking for a happy omen, and becoming victorious, he ever after used the sun; afterwards, joining those two devises together, he used them for his badge, or cognizance, as we see it upon this Coin. This makes it the more extraordinary, that both [Numismata, p. 86. Mare Clausum, p. 260.] Evelyn and Selden should mistake this Coin for a Noble of Edward the Third's.

The Angel, which is the first of that species coined in England, is like that of Henry the Sixth before described, but having a rose on the side of the mast instead of the fleur de lis.

The English Money, both gold and silver, have the old open crown, like Henry the Fifth, though upon his great seal he wears the double-arched, or Imperial crown. His Groats, which are generally clipped to the letters, are known from those of Edward the Third, by the old English characters, the N appearing almost like an R, and likewise by the weight, being a third part lighter; EDWARD. DI. GRA. REX. ANGL. Z. FRANC. The title of Ireland being omitted upon his English silver money, as that of England is upon his Irish. Reverse, CIVITAS. LONDON. with the usual legend of POSVI, &C. a cross-crosslet the mint-mark.

Another has four pellets on each side the head, designed, no doubt, for a rose, which this King was so fond of, and a rose the mint-mark. Another has a flower for the mint-mark, consisting of many small leaves resembling a marygold; others a figure like a horse-shoe, a crown, &c. One without the pellets, has an annulet the mint-mark. A Groat of York mint with the pellets, CIVITAS. EBORACI. and upon the King's breast the letter E, signifying the same; a marygold, or fleur de lis the mint-mark. Those of Canterbury mint have C upon the King's breast. Others VILLA. BRISTOLL. or BRISTOW. have B on the breast, and on each side the King's head a flower of four leaves. There is also a Groat of COVENTRE, and probably of other places.

The Penny and smaller Coins want the rose about the King's head; EDWARDVS. REX. or REX. ANGL. Reverse, the cross and pellets, CIVITAS. LONDON.

One Penny has an R on the right side the head. Reverse, CIVITAS. DVL, or DVNEL.

In Ireland, the state of the Coin seems to have been very bad the beginning of this reign; for in 1462, the Groat, Half Groat, Penny, and other Coins, were so destroyed by clippers, that the Parliament of Ireland ordained, [Stat. Hib. 5 E. 4, cap. 3.] that clipped Money should not be taken in payment; but after the Purification of our Lady then next ensuing, be utterly voind, and deemed no Coin of the King. The same year mints are said [Ware's Annals, p. 74. in Nich. Irish Hist. lib. p. 162.] to have been established by the deputy, for Groats, Twopences, Pence, Halfpence, and Farthings: and in 1647, liberty was given by act of Parliament, for coining of Money in the cities of Waterford and Limerick, and in the towns of Tredagh, Galloway, and Carlingford, as well as in Dublin and Trim.

In 1475, in a Parliament at Dublin, the value of silver Money was raised a third part; the first difference, [Thoresby, No 235.] between the standard of the English and Irish Money, which afterwards was always less than the English. By the same law, the mint was fixed at Dublin, Drogheda, and Waterford, and prohibited in other places: and in the 18th year of King Edward, another law impowered the master of the mint, to coin pieces of Threepence and a Penny: upon this Money [Ware's Antiquities, cap. 25, in Irish Hist. p. 163.] was the impression of three crowns, representing [Selden, 133.] the three kingdoms of England, France, and Ireland, and all of it was a third less in value than the English. These are the first Threepences that we meet with, having on one side a shield, divided by the cross, and the arms of France and England quarterly, REX. ANGLIE. Z. FRANCIE. Reverse, the like cross, with three open crowns, composed of crosses and fleurs de lis, different from any of his predecessors, (as we see it likewise upon the seal of Elizabeth his Queen) DOMINVS. HIBERNIE. Weight, twenty grains and a half.

Another, EDWARD. DI. GRA. DNS. HYBERN. his head like the English Groat, a cinqfoil the mint-mark. Reverse, his cognizance of the sun, with a rose in the centre, fills the area, CIVITAS. DVBLINIE. This weighing twenty-two grains, must be likewise a Threepence.

The Irish Groats have the King's head within a rose, like the English, nothing of the old triangle appearing, and generally no mention of England; EDWARDVS, DEI. GRA. DNS. HIBERNI Reverse, CIVITAS DVBLINIE, with the usual motto of POSVI.


Another of Waterford, [Irish Hist. lib. p. 164.] weight, one pennyweight, nine grains: another DE. TRIM.

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