TreasureRealm Banner

An Historical Account of English Money, 3rd Edition
Stephen Martin Leake, Esq, 1793
Henry V

Henry V. A. D. 1412.

[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.]

Not withstanding the provision made in the former reign to supply the nation with small Money, and prohibit the use of bad, we find the same eveil still subsisting, the new Money being probably melted down, or transported, as fast as coined, and base Money brought in to supply the place of it. In order therefore to prevent this pernicious practice for the future, it was made felony to bring in, [Rastal, 27, 28.] or put in payment, any Galley Halfpence, Suskin, or Dotkin, and all Scottish Money of silver; and all persons having such Money, were to bring the same to the King's Exchanges by the Easter following, there to be broken; and those that were found good silver, to be coined into English Halfpence, and clipping, washing, or filing of the Money, was declared treason. In his ninth year a thorough reformation was made in the Coin. To avoid the deceits by washing, clipping, and counterfeiting, it was ordained, [St. 9 H. 5. ch. 11.] that no English gold Money should be received in payment, but by the King's weight, which was sent to every city, and this, [Daniel, Kennet, p. 335.] in a great measure, put a stop to that pernicious practice, which had been a great hindrance to commerce, and damage to the subject; and all former acts [Rastal, 32. St. 9 H. 5.] concerning Money, not repealed, were confirmed.

And because a great part of the gold [Weights, Rastal, 23. St. 9 H. 5. sect. 2. ch. 7. St. 9 H 5. ch. 11.] then current, was neither of true weight, nor good allay, and though a Noble [Stow's Survey, p. 83.] was good gold, and weight, men could get no white Money for it, all persons, [Rastal, 33. 9 H. 5. St. 2. cap. 2.] who before the Christmas following brought their light and bad Money to the Tower, were to have the same re-coined at the King's charge, except reasonable allowance to the masters and officers of the mint. That all who brought Money to the Tower to be coined, should within eight days receive the full value of what they brought, paying the seignorage and cunage of gold, after the rate of five Shillings for the pound of the Tower; and for the seignorage and cunage of silver, fifteen pence for the pound, and no more: and those that would exchange the same at the Tower, to pay for the exchange, a Penny for the Noble, a Half Penny for the Half Noble, and a Farthing for the Quarter, with the seignorage [St. 9 H. 5. St. 2. cap. 3.] and cunage as before; and if the Money delivered at the Exchange was defective, it might be refused, and the exchanger was to melt it.

At the same time, an act [Rastal, 30, 36, 37. 9 H. 5. cap. 5, 6.] was made, to endure at the King's pleasure, that a mint should be at Calais, under the same regulations as the mint in the Tower; and it was enacted, that all Money of gold or silver, which should be made at the Tower of London, and at Calais, or elsewhere within the realm of England, by authority royal, should be made of as good allay and weight, as then made at the Tower. Orders [Daniel, Kennet.] were likewise sent upon this recoinage to all receivers of Money brought to them, if it did not want above twelve pence in a Noble of the true weight, and give them the new-coined Money for it; by which the King, though then under great necessities for Money, yet was contented to lose almost three Shillings in the pound for the benefit of the people. This redress of the Coin, and the King's favour, gained so much of the Parliament, that they gave him a fifteenth. But Stow says, [Survey of London, by Strype, p. 83.] this fifteenth was granted of such Money as was then current, gold or silver, not overmuch clipped. If the Noble was worth five Shillings and Eightpence, the King to take it for a full Noble of six Shillings and Eightpence; if less, the person was to make it good to five Shillings and Eightpence, and if better, the King to pay the surplus above: but this does not agree with the statute, [Rastal, 31.] which recites, that because it would be to the great loss and costs of the King's subjects, unless it pleased him to relieve them in this case; the King therefore, of his special grace, remifies and forgives to his people, all that to him pertaineth for this new coinage.

The standard and proportion of the Money was the same as the latter coinage of his father's; for, by an indenture [Claus. 1 H. 4. in dorso, M. 35.] dated the fourteenth of April in the first year of his reign, with Lewis John Dantre, master and worker for London and Calais, he was to make three sorts of gold Money, viz. Nobles, at six Shillings and Eightpence, fifty to the pound; Pieces of three Shillings and Fourpence, and the Quarter at Twentypence, making in tale sixteen Pounds, thirteen Shillings, and Fourpence; and the pound of silver to make thirty Shillings by tale, viz. in Groats, ninety to the pound, Demy-Gross, Easterlings, Mailes, and Ferlings. And in his ninth year was another like indenture with Bartholomew Goldbeater.

The Noble, HENRIC. DI. GRA. REX. ANGL. Z. FRANC. DNS. HYB. and reverse, the initial letter of his name within the rose in the centre; in other respects like those of Edward the Third, and Richard the Second, except, that upon the sides of the ship are only two lions passant, to the right, and three fleurs de lis alternately; and the arms of France are three fleurs de lis, this Henry being the first of our Kings that bore them so upon his great seal and his Money. But they were used, upon some other occasions, in that manner, much earlier, both in France and England. There is an Angel of Philip de Valois, coined in 1340, with the three fleurs de lis, which was probably done to vary the arms, King Edward having then lately taken the arms semè de lis. Le Blanc likewise mentions a charter of the said Philip, in 1355, with a seal of the arms in like manner. There is likewise a Groat of King John, with only three fleurs de lis, though he used them likewise semè. But Charles the Sixth, who began his reign in 1380, constantly bore the three lis for the arms of France, as they have been continued ever since. As our Kings altered the arms of France, in imitation of the French King, it is most likely Henry the Fourth, cotemporary to Charles the Sixth, began it. He did indeed bear the flowers semè upon his great seal, because it was his predecessor's; but that he bore the three fleurs de lis upon other occasions, is most likely, for so we see it at the head of his tomb at Canterbury; and his son Henry, afterward Henry the Fifth, in like manner bore the three fleurs de lis upon his seal, annexed to an indenture, so early as the sixth year of his father's reign, and no doubt after his example. Henry the Fifth was likewise the first who put the title of England before France upon his great seal, though from Edward the Third it had been so placed upon the Money.

There is another Noble distinguished by the standard of St. George, or flag, having St. George's cross thereon, at stern of the ship.

The Quarter Noble, HENRIC. DI. GRA. REX. ANGL. like those of Edward and Richard, except the arms of France, and a small fleur de lis above the escutcheon.

The silver Money is like his father's, and known from them only by two little circles, on each side the head, probably intended for eylet-holes, from an odd stratagem, [Stow, Speed.] when he was Prince, whereby he recovered his father's favour, being then dressed in a suit full of eylet-holes; from that time may likewise be dated his extraordinary change of manners, which proved so much to the honour of himself, and the kingdom, and therefore not an improper distinction of the Money of this Prince, from the others of the same name.

The Groad, HENRIC. DI. GRA. REX. ANGL. Z. FRANC. having an eylet-hole on each side the neck, and two answering them amongst the globuli. On the reverse, POSVI. DEVM. ADIVTORE. MEVM. CIVITAS LONDON. but most of them are of the Calais mint, VILLA. CALISIE. A very fair sort has ANGLIE/

The Half Groats like the Groats, but have the title of France abbreviated to FR. both in the London and Calais mint.

The lesser pieces, Pence, Halfpence, and Farthings, HENRICVS. REX. ANGL. Reverse, the cross and pellets, CIVITAS LONDON, or VILLA VALIS.

After the victory of Agincourt, and conquest of Normandy, this heroic Prince, to assert his sovereignty as King of France, ordered Petit Muttons of gold, and Groats of silver to be coined at Roan, of the same form and goodness as the French. But afterwards, by an order, [Pat. Norm. 7 H. 5. Rymer, tom. 9, p. 798.] dated at the castle Gisors, the 25th of September, 1419, it was directed that all the Muttons of gold, Groats, Half Groats, and Quarter Groats of silver, Mansois, and Petit Deniers, to be coined for the time to come, should have an H in the middle of the great cross, together with the distinction as had formerly been ordered to be made.

The Quarter Groat to be current for five Deniers of Tours, to weigh two pennyweights, sixteen grains of silver, of the value of thirteen Shillings and Fourpence the Mark, equivalent to the Henricus Groat: to have on the reverse, a shield with three fleurs de lis, and the Demy-Gross the like.

The Doubles called Mançois,, current for Twopence Tours, to weigh one pennyweight, eight grains of silver, at sixteen Shillings and Eightpence the Mark; to have three fleurs de lis on the reverse.

The Petit Deniers, current for a Penny Tours, having one pennyweight allay, Argent le Roy, at twenty-five Shillings the Mark; to have two fleurs de lis upon the reverse.

The Nobles of England to be current for forty-eight Gross, (which Gross are inscribed HENRICVS on the reverse, and towards the cross a leopard) making four pounds Tours, and sixty Carolus Groats, making one hundred Sols of Tours; and that the Petit Muttons, then valued at twelve Gross, to be current for eighteen Gross of the aforesaid Money, making thirty Shillings Tournois; but to continue the same weight and allay, viz. thirty-two Carrats fine, and ninety-six to the Mark Troy.

By another ordinance, [Pat. Norm. 7 H. 5. Rymer, tom. 9, p. 847.] directed to the Keeper of the Money at Roan, dated the 12th of January following, reciting the great damage to the people, by the bringing in of the base French Money, Groats are ordered to be made, to be current for Twentypence of Tours, weighing three pennyweights, eight grains of silver le Roy, at six Shillings and Eightpence the Mark; the said Groat to have three fleurs de lis under a crown upon the reverse, and on the sides of the said fleurs de lis, two leopards holding the same, and round them this inscription, HENRICVS. FRANCORVM. REX. and in the middle of the great cross an H, with the distinction formerly made in the first Groats, and this inscription about the great cross, SIT. NOMEN. DOMINI. BENEDICTVM. (Psalm cxiii. v. 2.) There is a Billon Groat in Le Blanc, which exactly answers this description.

Also there was ordered to be made little Fleurins of gold called Escus, twenty-two Carrats fine, and ninety-six to the Mark, having on the reverse a shield, with the plain arms of France and England quarterly, circumscribed HENRICVS. DEI. GRATIA. REX. FRANCIAE. ET. ANGLIAE. and near the great cross an H, and between the flowers of the said cross, two leopards, and two fleurs de lis, and round it this inscription, CHRISTVS. VINCIT. CHRISTVS. REGNAT. CRISTVS. IMPERAT. Afterward [1 Feb. 1420. Rymer, tom. 9, p. 860.] great quantities of Money, bearing a near resemblance to this, but lighter, and of a worse allay, being brought in and paid away, to the great deceit of the people, all foreign Money was forbid. And on the 18th of April following, the keeper of the Money at Saint Loe, is directed [Pat. Norm. 8 H. 5. A. D. 1420. Rymer, tom. 9, p. 880.] to coin Groats as before, with the distinction of a little point under the second letter of the inscription on either side. This the French called the point secret, which, by an ordinance [Boisard Traite des Monoyes, p. 91.] in 1415, was put under the letters of the legend, shewing, by what letter it was under, the place of fabrication; as, for instance, the mark for Paris was under the second letter E of Benedictum, for which reason King Henry used the same distinction; though, according to the ordinance before mentioned, the mark for Roan was to be under the first letter B.

From this last order of King Henry for coining Groats, Rapin [Hist. Eng. p. 525. vol. 1.] makes a Reflection (with his usual candour) as if King Henry had not only broke the treaty, but his oath, by using the title of France upon the Money: but this was no new order for coining the Money in this manner, as he would insinuate, for it was so ordered the January before: and even at the time of making this last, King Henry had not so much as agreed to the preliminary articles; and according to his own account, did not execute the treaty, till the twenty-first of May following. Soon after this, pursuant to the article of the treaty, we have an order, [Rymer, tom. 9, p. 920. P. Nom. 8 H. 5.] dated the sixteenth of June, directed to the keepers of the Money at Roan and Saint Loe, to alter the stile upon the Coin, to make blank Deniers, called Groats, at Twentypence Tournois, two pennyweights, twelve grains allay, at three Shillings and Fourpence the Mark, with an alteration of the stile, viz. instead of Henricus Francorum Rex, HENRICVS. REX. ANGLIAE. ET. HAERES. FRANCIAE. And the twenty-fourth of June is another order [Rymer, tom. 9, p. 915. 8 H. 5. A. D. 1420.] to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for altering the stile in likea manner upon his seal, in which order he writes himself Henricus Dei Gratia, Rex Angliae, Haeres & Regens Regni Fraciae, & Dominus Hiberniae.

After this King Henry coined [Le Blanc, p. 243. p. vii. 322, 242.] Saluts, Demi-Saluts, Blanks, and other species of Money, of the same form and goodness as those of King Charles, whereon he took the title of Haeres Franciae. These Saluts were so called, from the salutation represented thereon. They were first coined in November 1421, King Charles being the only French King who coined these Saluts of gold, our King Henry doing the like. And, by an order of the seventeenth of January following, the Saluts, and Demi-Saluts of England made in Normandy, were made current in France, with other species of Money, viz. the Salut at twenty-five Shillings, Demi-Saluta twenty-two Shillings and Sixpence, Petit Muttons fifteen Shillings, Nobles forty-two Shillings and Sixpence, Half Nobles twenty-one Shillings and Threepence, Quarter Nobles ten Shillings and Sevenpence ob.

The Blanks, or Whites were so called [Coke's Instit. p. 3, cap. 30. St. 2 H. 6, cap. 9.] from their colour, being silver, because at the same time were coined Gold. They were valued at two thirds of the Groat, and were prohibited to be current in England in his son's reign.

The Muttons [Le Blanc, p. 169, 238.] were so called, from the impression of the lamb, or agnus dei, upon them, for which reason they have the inscription, AGNVS. DEI. QVI. TOLLI. PECCATA. MVNDI. MISERERE. NOBIS. Reverse, a cross flori and fleuri, like the Nobles, within a rose of four parts, and fleurs de lis in the quarters, XPE. VINCIT. XPE. REGNAT. XPE. IMPERAT. The Muttons of Henry were like the French Muttons, only they had the letter H in the centre of the cross, as has been observed before.

He likewise coined Doubles, [Le Blanc, p. 243, 245. Rymer, tom. 10, p. 544. Vasc. 11. H. 6.] of the value of three Mailes, commonly called Niquets, and other Monies, besides what he coined in Aquitaine.

Table of Contents

Coins Home | Books