Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is a county and the largest and second-most populous island in England. It is in the English Channel, between 2 and 5 miles off the coast of Hampshire, separated by the Solent; the island has resorts that have been holiday destinations since Victorian times, is known for its mild climate, coastal scenery, verdant landscape of fields and chines. The island has been home to the poets Swinburne and Tennyson and to Queen Victoria, who built her much-loved summer residence and final home Osborne House at East Cowes, it has a maritime and industrial tradition including boat-building, sail-making, the manufacture of flying boats, the hovercraft, Britain's space rockets. The island hosts annual music festivals including the Isle of Wight Festival, which in 1970 was the largest rock music event held, it has well-conserved wildlife and some of the richest cliffs and quarries for dinosaur fossils in Europe. The isle was earlier a kingdom in its own right. In common with the Crown dependencies The British Crown was represented on the island by the Governor of the Isle of Wight until 1995.
The island has played an important part in the defence of the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, been near the front-line of conflicts through the ages, including the Spanish Armada and the Battle of Britain. Rural for most of its history, its Victorian fashionability and the growing affordability of holidays led to significant urban development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Part of Hampshire, the island became a separate administrative county in 1890, it continued to share the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire until 1974, when it was made its own ceremonial county. Apart from a shared police force, there is now no administrative link with Hampshire, although a combined local authority with Portsmouth and Southampton was considered, this is now unlikely to proceed; until 1995 the island had a governor. The quickest public transport link to the mainland is the hovercraft from Ryde to Southsea. During the last Ice Age, sea levels were lower and the Solent was part of a river flowing south east from current day Poole Harbour towards mid-Channel.
As sea levels rose, the river valley became flooded, the chalk ridge line west of the Needles breached to form the island. The Isle of Wight is first mentioned in writing in Geography by Ptolemy. Bronze Age Britain had large reserves of tin in the areas of Cornwall and Devon and tin is necessary to smelt bronze. At that time the sea level was much lower and carts of tin were brought across the Solent at low tide for export on the Ferriby Boats. Anthony Snodgrass suggests that a shortage of tin, as a part of the Bronze Age Collapse and trade disruptions in the Mediterranean around 1300 BC, forced metalworkers to seek an alternative to bronze. During Iron Age Britain, the Late Iron Age, the Isle of Wight would appear to have been occupied by the Celtic tribe, the Durotriges - as attested by finds of their coins, for example, the South Wight Hoard, the Shalfleet Hoard. South eastern Britain experienced significant immigration, reflected in the genetic makeup of the current residents; as the Iron Age began the value of tin dropped and this greatly changed the economy of the Isle of Wight.
Trade however continued. Julius Caesar reported that the Belgae took the Isle of Wight in about 85 BC, recognised the culture of this general region as "Belgic", but made no reference to Vectis; the Roman historian Suetonius mentions. The Romans built no towns on the island, but the remains of at least seven Roman villas have been found, indicating the prosperity of local agriculture. First-century exports were principally hides, hunting dogs, cattle, silver and iron. Ferriby Boats and Blackfriars Ships were important to the local economy. During the Dark Ages the island was settled by Jutes as the pagan kingdom of Wihtwara under King Arwald. In 685 it was invaded by Caedwalla. In 686 Arwald was defeated and the island became the last part of English lands to be converted to Christianity, added to Wessex and becoming part of England under King Alfred the Great, included within the shire of Hampshire, it suffered from Viking raids, was used as a winter base by Viking raiders when they were unable to reach Normandy.
Both Earl Tostig and his brother Harold Godwinson held manors on the island. Starting in AD 449 the 5th and 6th centuries saw groups of Germanic speaking peoples from Northern Europe crossing the English Channel and setting up home. Bede's Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum identifies three separate groups of invaders: of these, the Jutes from Denmark settled the Isle of Wight and Kent. From onwards, there are indications that the island had wide trading links, with a port at Bouldnor, evidence of Bronze Age tin trading, finds of Late Iron Age coins; the Norman Conquest of 1066 created the position of Lord of the Isle of Wight. Carisbrooke Priory and the fort of Carisbrooke Castle were founded. Allegiance was sworn to FitzOsbern rather than the king. For nearly 200 years the island
Winchester is a city and the county town of Hampshire, England. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government district, is located at the western end of the South Downs National Park, along the course of the River Itchen, it is situated 60 miles south-west of London and 13.6 miles from its closest city. At the time of the 2011 Census, Winchester had a population of 45,184; the wider City of Winchester district which includes towns such as Alresford and Bishop's Waltham has a population of 116,800. Winchester developed from the Roman town of Venta Belgarum, which in turn developed from an Iron Age oppidum. Winchester's major landmark is Winchester Cathedral, one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, with the distinction of having the longest nave and overall length of all Gothic cathedrals in Europe; the city is home to the University of Winchester and Winchester College, the oldest public school in the United Kingdom still using its original buildings. The area around Winchester has been inhabited since prehistoric times, with three Iron Age hillforts, Oram's Arbour, St. Catherine's Hill, Worthy Down all in the nearby vicinity.
In the Late Iron Age, a more urban settlement type developed, known as an oppidum, although the archaeology of this phase remains obscure. It was overrun by the confederation of Gaulish tribes known as the Belgae sometime during the first century BCE, it seems to have been known as Wentā or Venta, derived from the Brittonic for "town" or "meeting place", or the word for "white", due to Winchester's situation upon chalk. After the Roman conquest of Britain, the settlement served as the capital of the Belgae and was distinguished as Venta Belgarum, "Venta of the Belgae". Although in the early years of the Roman province it was of subsidiary importance to Silchester and Chichester, Venta eclipsed them both by the latter half of the second century. At the beginning of the third century, Winchester was given protective stone walls. At around this time the city covered an area of 144 acres, making it among the largest towns in Roman Britain by surface area. There was a limited suburban area outside the walls.
Like many other Roman towns however, Winchester began to decline in the fourth century. Following the Roman withdrawal from Britain in 410, urban life seems to have continued at Venta Belgarum until around 450 AD, a small administrative centre might have continued after that on the site of the Anglo-Saxon palace. Ford identifies the community as the Cair Guinntguic listed by Nennius among the 28 cities of Britain in his History of the Britons. Amid the Saxon invasions of Britain, cemeteries dating to the 6th and 7th centuries suggest a revival of settlement; the city became known as Wintan-ceastre in Old English. In 648, King Cenwalh of Wessex erected the Church of SS Peter and Paul known as the Old Minster; this became a cathedral in the 660s when the West Saxon bishopric was transferred from Dorchester-on-Thames. The present form of the city dates to reconstruction in the late 9th century, when King Alfred the Great obliterated the Roman street plan in favour of a new grid in order to provide better defence against the Vikings.
The city's first mint appears to date from this period. In the early tenth century there were two new ecclesiastical establishments, the convent of Nunnaminster, founded by Alfred's widow Ealhswith, the New Minster. Bishop Æthelwold of Winchester was a leading figure in the monastic reform movement of the tenth century, he replaced them with monks. He created the drainage system, the'Lockburn', which served as the town drain until 1875, still survives. In the late tenth century, the Old Minster was enlarged as a centre of the cult of the ninth century Bishop of Winchester, Saint Swithun; the three minsters were the home of what architectural historian John Crook describes as "the supreme artistic achievements" of the Winchester School. The consensus among historians of Anglo-Saxon England is that the court was mobile in this period and there was no fixed capital. Martin Biddle has suggested that Winchester was a centre for royal administration in the seventh and eighth centuries, but this is questioned by Barbara Yorke, who sees it as significant that the shire was named after Hamtun, the forerunner of Southampton.
However, Winchester is described by the historian Catherine Cubitt as "the premier city of the West Saxon kingdom." There was a fire in the city in 1141 during the Rout of Winchester. William of Wykeham played a role in the city's restoration; as Bishop of Winchester he was responsible for much of the current structure of the cathedral, he founded the still extant public school Winchester College. During the Middle Ages, the city was an important centre of the wool trade, before going into a slow decline; the curfew bell in the bell tower, still sounds at 8:00 pm each evening. While Jews lived in Winchester from at least 1148, in the 13th century the Jewish community in the city was one of the most important in England. There was an archa in the city, the Jewish quarter was located in the city's heart. There were a series of blood libel claims levied against the Jewish community in the 1220s and 1230s, the cause of the hanging of the community's leader, Abraham Pinch, in front of the synagogue that he was head of.
Simon de Montfort ransacked the Jewish quarter in 1264, in 1290 all Jews were expelled from England. The City Cross has been dated to the 15th century, features 12 statues of the Virgin Mary and various historical figures. Several statues appear to have been added t
Sir Isaac Newton was an English mathematician, astronomer and author, recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time, a key figure in the scientific revolution. His book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, first published in 1687, laid the foundations of classical mechanics. Newton made seminal contributions to optics, shares credit with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz for developing the infinitesimal calculus. In Principia, Newton formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation that formed the dominant scientific viewpoint until it was superseded by the theory of relativity. Newton used his mathematical description of gravity to prove Kepler's laws of planetary motion, account for tides, the trajectories of comets, the precession of the equinoxes and other phenomena, eradicating doubt about the Solar System's heliocentricity, he demonstrated that the motion of objects on Earth and celestial bodies could be accounted for by the same principles. Newton's inference that the Earth is an oblate spheroid was confirmed by the geodetic measurements of Maupertuis, La Condamine, others, convincing most European scientists of the superiority of Newtonian mechanics over earlier systems.
Newton built the first practical reflecting telescope and developed a sophisticated theory of colour based on the observation that a prism separates white light into the colours of the visible spectrum. His work on light was collected in his influential book Opticks, published in 1704, he formulated an empirical law of cooling, made the first theoretical calculation of the speed of sound, introduced the notion of a Newtonian fluid. In addition to his work on calculus, as a mathematician Newton contributed to the study of power series, generalised the binomial theorem to non-integer exponents, developed a method for approximating the roots of a function, classified most of the cubic plane curves. Newton was a fellow of Trinity College and the second Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, he was a devout but unorthodox Christian who rejected the doctrine of the Trinity. Unusually for a member of the Cambridge faculty of the day, he refused to take holy orders in the Church of England.
Beyond his work on the mathematical sciences, Newton dedicated much of his time to the study of alchemy and biblical chronology, but most of his work in those areas remained unpublished until long after his death. Politically and tied to the Whig party, Newton served two brief terms as Member of Parliament for the University of Cambridge, in 1689–90 and 1701–02, he was knighted by Queen Anne in 1705 and spent the last three decades of his life in London, serving as Warden and Master of the Royal Mint, as well as president of the Royal Society. Isaac Newton was born on Christmas Day, 25 December 1642 "an hour or two after midnight", at Woolsthorpe Manor in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, a hamlet in the county of Lincolnshire, his father named Isaac Newton, had died three months before. Born prematurely, Newton was a small child; when Newton was three, his mother remarried and went to live with her new husband, the Reverend Barnabas Smith, leaving her son in the care of his maternal grandmother, Margery Ayscough.
Newton disliked his stepfather and maintained some enmity towards his mother for marrying him, as revealed by this entry in a list of sins committed up to the age of 19: "Threatening my father and mother Smith to burn them and the house over them." Newton's mother had three children from her second marriage. From the age of about twelve until he was seventeen, Newton was educated at The King's School, which taught Latin and Greek and imparted a significant foundation of mathematics, he was removed from school, returned to Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth by October 1659. His mother, widowed for the second time, attempted to make him an occupation he hated. Henry Stokes, master at The King's School, persuaded his mother to send him back to school. Motivated by a desire for revenge against a schoolyard bully, he became the top-ranked student, distinguishing himself by building sundials and models of windmills. In June 1661, he was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge, on the recommendation of his uncle Rev William Ayscough, who had studied there.
He started as a subsizar—paying his way by performing valet's duties—until he was awarded a scholarship in 1664, guaranteeing him four more years until he could get his MA. At that time, the college's teachings were based on those of Aristotle, whom Newton supplemented with modern philosophers such as Descartes, astronomers such as Galileo and Thomas Street, through whom he learned of Kepler's work, he set down in his notebook a series of "Quaestiones" about mechanical philosophy. In 1665, he discovered the generalised binomial theorem and began to develop a mathematical theory that became calculus. Soon after Newton had obtained his BA degree in August 1665, the university temporarily closed as a precaution against the Great Plague. Although he had been undistinguished as a Cambridge student, Newton's private studies at his home in Woolsthorpe over the subsequent two years saw the development of his theories on calculus and the law of gravitation. In April 1667, he returned in October was elected as a fellow of Trinity.
Fellows were required to become ordained priests, although this was no
East Grinstead (UK Parliament constituency)
East Grinstead was a parliamentary constituency in the Kingdom of England, the Kingdom of Great Britain, the United Kingdom. It first existed as a Parliamentary borough from 1307, returning two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons elected by the bloc vote system; the borough was disfranchised under the Reform Act 1832, but the name was revived at the 1885 election when the Redistribution of Seats Act created a new single-member county division of the same name. Upon its abolition for the 1983 election, its territory was divided between Mid Wealden. 1885-1918: The Sessional Divisions of Cuckfield, East Grinstead, Uckfield. 1918-1950: The Urban Districts of Burgess Hill, East Grinstead, Hayward's Heath, Uckfield, the Rural Districts of Cuckfield, East Grinstead, Uckfield. 1950-1955: The Urban Districts of Cuckfield and East Grinstead, the Rural District of Uckfield, in the Rural District of Cuckfield the parishes of Ardingly, Bolney, Cuckfield Rural, Horsted Keynes, Lindfield Rural, West Hoathly, Worth, in the Rural District of Battle the parishes of Burwash and Ticehurst.
1955-1974: The Urban Districts of Cuckfield and East Grinstead, the Rural District of Uckfield, in the Rural District of Cuckfield the parishes of Ardingly, Bolney, Cuckfield Rural, Horsted Keynes, Lindfield Rural, West Hoathly, Worth. 1974-1983: The Urban District of East Grinstead, the Rural District of Uckfield. Constituency abolished Constituency revived General Election 1914/15: Another General Election was required to take place before the end of 1915; the political parties had been making preparations for an election to take place and by the July 1914, the following candidates had been selected. General Election 1939/40: Another General Election was required to take place before the end of 1940; the political parties had been making preparations for an election to take place and by the Autumn of 1939, the following candidates had been selected. British parliamentary election results 1885–1918. Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. P. 404. ISBN 0-900178-27-2. Craig, F. W. S.. British parliamentary election results 1918–1949.
Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. P. 481. ISBN 0-900178-06-X. Hills, Wallace Henry. "The Borough of East Grinstead and its Members of Parliament". The History of East Grinstead: The rise and progress of the town and the history of its institutions & People. Farncombe. Retrieved 29 October 2010
Netley Abbey is a ruined late medieval monastery in the village of Netley near Southampton in Hampshire, England. The abbey was founded in 1239 as a house for monks of the austere Cistercian order. Despite royal patronage, Netley was never rich, produced no influential scholars nor churchmen, its nearly 300-year history was quiet; the monks were best known to their neighbours for the generous hospitality they offered to travellers on land and sea. In 1536, Netley Abbey was seized by Henry VIII of England during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the buildings granted to William Paulet, a wealthy Tudor politician, who converted them into a mansion; the abbey was used as a country house until the beginning of the eighteenth century, after which it was abandoned and demolished for building materials. Subsequently the ruins became a tourist attraction, provided inspiration to poets and artists of the Romantic movement. In the early twentieth century the site was given to the nation, it is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, cared for by English Heritage.
The extensive remains consist of the church, cloister buildings, abbot's house, fragments of the post-Dissolution mansion. Netley Abbey is one of the best preserved medieval Cistercian monasteries in southern England. Netley was conceived by the influential Peter des Roches, Bishop of Winchester from 1205 until his death in 1238; the founder's charter shows the name of the abbey as "the church of St Mary of Edwardstow", or the Latin "Ecclesia Sanctae Mariae de loco Sancti Edwardi" although the title of the charter calls it "Letley". The abbey was one of a pair of monasteries. Des Roches began to purchase the lands for Netley's initial endowment in about 1236, but he died before the project was finished and the foundation was completed by his executors. According to the Chronicle of Waverley Abbey, the first monks arrived to settle the site on 25 July 1239 from neighbouring Beaulieu Abbey, a year after the bishop's death; the fact of its founder prior death before designation of the endowment was complete, put the incipient abbey in a difficult financial situation.
It is thought that only after the house was taken under the wing of Henry III, who became interested in it in the mid-1240s, was progress made on the buildings. The King assumed the role of patron in 1251; the fruits of royal patronage were demonstrated by the construction of a large church, built in the fashionable French-influenced Gothic style pioneered by Henry's masons at Westminster Abbey. The high quality and elaborate nature of the church's decoration its mouldings and tracery, indicate how the machine of royal patronage lead to a move away from the deliberate austerity of the early Cistercian churches towards the grandeur considered appropriate to a secular church such as a cathedral. Construction of the church proceeded from east to west; the sanctuary and transepts were built first to allow the monks to hold services, the nave was completed over time. It is not known when the building work began, but major gifts by King Henry of roofing timber and lead from Derbyshire in 1251 and 1252 indicate that some of the eastern parts of the church, of the east cloister range too, had by reached an advanced stage.
The presence of a foundation stone at the base of the southeast pier of the crossing inscribed "H. DI. GRA REX ANGE" shows that the foundations of the centre of the church reached ground level after 1251, the year Henry III formally became the abbey's patron. Taking many decades to complete, the church was finished between 1290 and 1320. Dating the various parts of the building relies predominantly on stylistic criteria; the church was cruciform in shape, with vaulting and a square sanctuary and a low central tower containing bells. It was aisled with a pair of chapels on the east side of each transept. There was no triforium, but a narrow gallery surmounted by a clerestory of triple lancet windows ran above each bay of the arcade, as can be seen in the surviving section in the south transept; the vaulting sprang directly from the top of the arcade. The wall at the eastern end of the sanctuary built after 1260, had a large window which features an upper rose and elaborate tracery. In the nave, the south aisle had plain triple lancets set high in the wall to avoid the cloister roof.
The north aisle windows by contrast had richly decorated cusped tracery, reflecting the changes in taste over the long period of construction, suggesting that this was among the last parts of the church to be finished in the late thirteenth or early fourteenth centuries. The west wall of the church has a large window, the tracery of, destroyed in a collapse during the eighteenth century. Surviving fragments show that it was built in a "freer and more advanced style" than other parts of the church, suggest a date around the turn of the fourteenth century. Internally, the church was subdivided into several areas; the high altar was against the east wall of the sanctuary, flanked by two smaller altars on the side walls. To the west, under the tower, were the monks' choir stalls where they sat during services, further west was a pulpitum or rood screen, which blocked access to the ritual areas of the church. In the nave, the lay brothers had their own choir stalls and altar for services; the monks of Netley kept up a schedule of services and prayer both
The America's Cup, affectionately known as the Auld Mug, is a trophy awarded to the winner of the America's Cup match races between two sailing yachts. One yacht, known as the defender, represents the yacht club that holds the America's Cup and the second yacht, known as the challenger, represents the yacht club, challenging for the cup; the timing of each match is determined by an agreement between the challenger. The America's Cup is the oldest international sporting trophy, it will next be raced for in the southern summer, in the early part of 2021. The cup was awarded in 1851 by the Royal Yacht Squadron for a race around the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom, won by the schooner America. Known as the'R. Y. S. £100 Cup', the trophy was renamed the'America's Cup' after the yacht and was donated to the New York Yacht Club under the terms of the Deed of Gift, which made the cup available for perpetual international competition. Any yacht club that meets the requirements specified in the deed of gift has the right to challenge the yacht club that holds the cup.
If the challenging club wins the match, it gains stewardship of the cup. The history and prestige associated with the America's Cup attracts not only the world's top sailors and yacht designers but the involvement of wealthy entrepreneurs and sponsors, it is a test not only of sailing skill and boat and sail design, but of fundraising and management skills. The trophy was held by the NYYC from 1857 until 1983; the NYYC defended the trophy twenty-four times in a row before being defeated by the Royal Perth Yacht Club, represented by the yacht Australia II. The NYYC's reign was the longest winning streak in the history of all sports. From the first defence of the cup in 1870 through the twentieth defence in 1967, there was always only one challenger. In 1970, for the first time, there were multiple challengers, so the NYYC agreed that the challengers could run a selection series with the winner becoming the official challenger and competing against the defender in the America's Cup match. Since 1983, Louis Vuitton has sponsored the Louis Vuitton Cup as a prize for the winner of the challenger selection series.
Early matches for the cup were raced between yachts 65–90 ft on the waterline owned by wealthy sportsmen. This culminated with the J-Class regattas of the 1930s. After World War II and twenty years without a challenge, the NYYC made changes to the deed of gift to allow smaller, less expensive 12-metre class yachts to compete, it was replaced in 1990 by the International America’s Cup Class, used until 2007. After a long legal battle, the 2010 America's Cup was raced in 90 ft waterline multihull yachts in a best of three "deed of gift" match in Valencia, Spain; the victorious Golden Gate Yacht Club elected to race the 2013 America's Cup in AC72 foiling, wing-sail catamarans. Golden Gate Yacht Club defended the cup; the 35th America's Cup match was announced to be sailed in 50 ft foiling catamarans. The history of the America's Cup has included legal battles and disputes over rule changes including most over the rule changes for the 2017 America's Cup; the America's Cup is held by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, who will stage the 36th defence of the Cup in 2021.
The Cup is an ornate sterling silver bottomless ewer crafted in 1848 by Garrard & Co. Henry William Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey bought one and donated it for the Royal Yacht Squadron's 1851 Annual Regatta around the Isle of Wight, it was known as the "R. Y. S. £100 Cup", standing for a cup of a hundred GB Pounds or "sovereigns" in value. The cup was subsequently mistakenly engraved as the "100 Guinea Cup" by the America syndicate, but was referred to as the "Queen's Cup". Today, the trophy is known as the "America's Cup" after the 1851 winning yacht, is affectionately called the "Auld Mug" by the sailing community, it is inscribed with names of the yachts that competed for it, has been modified twice by adding matching bases to accommodate more names. In 1851 Commodore John Cox Stevens, a charter member of the fledgling New York Yacht Club, formed a six-person syndicate to build a yacht with intention of taking her to England and making some money competing in yachting regattas and match races.
The syndicate contracted with pilot boat designer George Steers for a 101 ft schooner, christened America and launched on 3 May 1851. On 22 August 1851, America raced against 15 yachts of the Royal Yacht Squadron in the Club's annual 53-nautical-mile regatta around the Isle of Wight. America won. Apocryphally, Queen Victoria, watching at the finish line, was reported to have asked, second, the famous answer being: "Ah, Your Majesty, there is no second."The surviving members of the America syndicate donated the cup via the Deed of Gift of the America's Cup to the NYYC on 8 July 1857, specifying that it be held in trust as a perpetual challenge trophy to promote friendly competition among nations. No challenge to race for the Cup was issued until British railway tycoon James Lloyd Ashbury's topsail schooner Cambria beat the Yankee schooner Sappho in the Solent in 1868; this success encouraged the Royal Thames Yacht Club in believing that the cup could be brought back home, placed the first challenge in 1870.
Ashbury entered Cambria in the NYYC Queen's Cup race in New York City on 8 August against a fleet of seventeen
Shilling (British coin)
The shilling was a coin worth one twentieth of a pound sterling, or twelve pence. It was first minted in the reign of Henry VII as the testoon, became known as the shilling from the Old English scilling, sometime in the mid-sixteenth century, circulating until 1990; the word bob was sometimes used for a monetary value of several shillings, e.g. "ten bob note". Following decimalisation on 15 February 1971 the coin had a value of five new pence, it was made from silver from its introduction in or around 1503 until 1947, thereafter in cupronickel. Prior to Decimal Day in 1971 there were 240 pence in one pound sterling. Twelve pence made a shilling, twenty shillings made a pound. Values less than a pound were written in terms of shillings and pence, e.g. forty-two pence would be three shillings and six pence, pronounced "three and six". Values of less than a shilling were written in terms of pence, e.g. eight pence would be 8d. Although the coin was not minted until the sixteenth century, the value of a shilling had been used for accounting purposes since the Anglo-Saxon period.
A shilling was deemed to be the value of a cow in Kent, or a sheep elsewhere. The value of one shilling equalling 12d was set by the Normans following the conquest; the first coins of the pound sterling with the value of 12d were minted in 1503 or 1504 and were known as testoons. The testoon was one of the first English coins to bear a real portrait of the monarch on its obverse, it is for this reason that it obtained its name from an Italian coin known as the testone, or headpiece, introduced in Milan in 1474. Between 1544 and 1551 the coinage was debased by the governments of Henry VIII and Edward VI in an attempt to generate more money to fund foreign wars; this debasement meant that coins produced in 1551 had one-fifth of the silver content of those minted in 1544, the value of new testoons fell from 12d to 6d. The reason the testoon decreased in value is that unlike today, the value of coins was determined by the market price of the metal contained within them; this debasement was recognised as a mistake, during Elizabeth's reign newly minted coins, including the testoon, had a much higher silver content and regained their pre-debasement value.
Shillings were minted during the reign of every British monarch following Edward VI, as well as during the Commonwealth, with a vast number of variations and alterations appearing over the years. The Royal Mint undertook a massive recoinage programme in 1816, with large quantities of gold and silver coin being minted. Previous issues of silver coinage had been irregular, the last issue, minted in 1787, was not intended for issue to the public, but as Christmas gifts to the Bank of England's customers. New silver coinage was to be of.925 standard, with silver coins to be minted at 66 shillings to the troy pound. Hence, newly minted shillings weighed 5.655 grams. The Royal Mint debased the silver coinage in 1920 from 92.5% silver to 50% silver. Shillings of both alloys were minted that year; this debasement was done because of the rising price of silver around the world, followed the global trend of the elimination, or the reducing in purity, of the silver in coinage. The minting of silver coinage of the pound sterling ceased in 1946 for similar reasons, exacerbated by the costs of the Second World War.
New "silver" coinage was instead minted in cupronickel, an alloy of copper and nickel containing no silver at all. Beginning with Lord Wrottesley's proposals in the 1820s there were various attempts to decimalise the pound sterling over the next century and a half; these attempts came to nothing significant until the 1960s when the need for a currency more suited to simple monetary calculations became pressing. The decision to decimalise was announced in 1966, with the pound to be redivided into 100, rather than 240, pence. Decimal Day was set for 15 February 1971, a whole range of new coins were introduced. Shillings continued to be legal tender with a value of 5 new pence until 31 December 1990. Testoons issued during the reign of Henry VII feature a right-facing portrait of the king on the obverse. Surrounding the portrait is the inscription HENRICUS DI GRA REX ANGL Z FRA, or similar, meaning "Henry, by the Grace of God, King of England and France". All shillings minted under subsequent kings and queens bear a similar inscription on the obverse identifying the monarch, with the portrait flipping left-facing to right-facing or vice versa between monarchs.
The reverse features the escutcheon of the Royal Arms of England, surrounded by the inscription POSVI DEVM ADIVTORE MEVM, or a variant, meaning "I have made God my helper". Henry VIII testoons have a different reverse design, featuring a crowned Tudor rose, but those of Edward VI return to the Royal Arms design used previously. Starting with Edward VI the coins feature the denomination XII printed next to the portrait of the king. Elizabeth I and Mary I shillings are exceptions to this; some shillings issued during Mary's reign bear the date of minting, printed above the dual portraits of Mary and Philip. Early shillings of James I feature the alternative reverse inscription EXURGAT DEUS DISSIPENTUR INIMICI, meaning "Let God arise and His enemies be scattered", becoming QVAE DEVS CONIVNXIT NEMO SEPARET, meaning "What God hath put together let no man put asunder" after 1604. A slang name for a shilling was a "bob" (plural as singular, as