The thrymsa was a gold coin minted in seventh-century Anglo-Saxon England. It originated as earlier Roman coins with a high gold content. Continued debasement between the 630s and the 650s reduced the gold content in newly minted coins such that after c. 655 the percentage of gold in a new coin was less than 35%. The thrymsa was superseded by the silver sceat; the first thrymsas were minted in England in the 630s. These earliest coins were created at mints in Canterbury and also Winchester. Charles Arnold-Baker in his Companion to British History suggests that the impetus for the creation of this coin was increased commerce following the marriage of Æthelberht of Kent and Bertha of Kent, a daughter of the Frankish king Charibert I. Thrymsas contained between 40% and 70% gold, but following continued debasement those coins minted after c. 655 contained less than 35% gold. Gold coins ceased to minted by about 675, after which the silver sceat was minted instead; the term thrymsa is used in Anglo-Saxon texts to refer to a value of four silver pennies.
Thrymsas are known to modern numismatists through their discovery in various hoards, notably the Crondall Hoard. The ship-burial at Sutton Hoo, which dates from the early seventh-century contained 37 Merovingian tremisses but no Anglo-Saxon coins; the Crondall hoard by contrast, dated to after c. 630, contained 101 gold coins, of which 69 were Anglo-Saxon and 24 were Merovingian or Frankish. Early thrymsas were imitations of earlier Roman coins, they weighed between 1 and 3 grams, had a diameter of 13 millimetres. Thrymsas feature various different designs, including busts, lyre-like objects and Roman legionary ensigns. Inscriptions are common features, sometimes appear in Latin script and sometimes in Anglo-Saxon runes. History of the English penny Coinage in Anglo-Saxon England Comparison of continental and English coins: Arnold-Baker, Charles; the Companion to British History. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-317-40039-4. Campbell, J.. "Rædwald". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.
Doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/23265. Retrieved 14 March 2016. Subscription or UK public library membership required. Davies, Glyn. History of Money. University of Wales Press. ISBN 978-0-7083-2379-3. Grierson, Philip. Medieval European Coinage: Volume 1, The Early Middle Ages. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-03177-6. Page, Raymond Ian. An introduction to English runes. Methuen. Skingley, Philip, ed.. Coins of England & the United Kingdom: Standard Catalogue of British Coins 2015. Spink & Sons Ltd. ISBN 978-1-907427-43-5. Cook, Barrie J.. Coinage And History in the North Sea World, C. AD 500–1250: Essays in Honour of Marion Archibald. BRILL. ISBN 90-04-14777-2
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry was the second Tudor monarch, succeeding his father, Henry VII. Henry is best known for his six marriages, in particular his efforts to have his first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, annulled, his disagreement with the Pope on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries, for which he was excommunicated. Henry is known as "the father of the Royal Navy". Domestically, Henry is known for his radical changes to the English Constitution, ushering into England the theory of the divine right of kings. Besides asserting the sovereign's supremacy over the Church of England, he expanded royal power during his reign. Charges of treason and heresy were used to quell dissent, those accused were executed without a formal trial, by means of bills of attainder.
He achieved many of his political aims through the work of his chief ministers, some of whom were banished or executed when they fell out of his favour. Thomas Wolsey, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Richard Rich, Thomas Cranmer all figured prominently in Henry's administration, he was an extravagant spender and used the proceeds from the Dissolution of the Monasteries and acts of the Reformation Parliament to convert into royal revenue the money, paid to Rome. Despite the influx of money from these sources, Henry was continually on the verge of financial ruin due to his personal extravagance as well as his numerous costly and unsuccessful continental wars with King Francis I of France and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. At home, he oversaw the legal union of England and Wales with the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 and following the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 he was the first English monarch to rule as King of Ireland, his contemporaries considered Henry in his prime to be an attractive and accomplished king.
He has been described as "one of the most charismatic rulers to sit on the English throne". He was an composer; as he aged, Henry became obese and his health suffered, contributing to his death in 1547. He is characterised in his life as a lustful, egotistical and insecure king, he was succeeded by the issue of his third marriage to Jane Seymour. Born 28 June 1491 at the Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, Henry Tudor was the third child and second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Of the young Henry's six siblings, only three – Arthur, Prince of Wales, he was baptised by Richard Fox, the Bishop of Exeter, at a church of the Observant Franciscans close to the palace. In 1493, at the age of two, Henry was appointed Constable of Dover Castle and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, he was subsequently appointed Earl Marshal of England and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at age three, was inducted into the Order of the Bath soon after. The day after the ceremony he was created Duke of York and a month or so made Warden of the Scottish Marches.
In May 1495, he was appointed to the Order of the Garter. The reason for all the appointments to a small child was so his father could keep personal control of lucrative positions and not share them with established families. Henry was given a first-rate education from leading tutors, becoming fluent in Latin and French, learning at least some Italian. Not much is known about his early life – save for his appointments – because he was not expected to become king. In November 1501, Henry played a considerable part in the ceremonies surrounding his brother's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, the youngest surviving child of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile; as Duke of York, Henry used the arms of his father as king, differenced by a label of three points ermine. He was further honoured, on 9 February 1506, by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I who made him a Knight of the Golden Fleece. In 1502, Arthur died at the age of 15 of sweating sickness, just 20 weeks after his marriage to Catherine.
Arthur's death thrust all his duties upon the 10-year-old Henry. After a little debate, Henry became the new Duke of Cornwall in October 1502, the new Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester in February 1503. Henry VII gave the boy few tasks. Young Henry was supervised and did not appear in public; as a result, he ascended the throne "untrained in the exacting art of kingship". Henry VII renewed his efforts to seal a marital alliance between England and Spain, by offering his second son in marriage to Arthur's widow Catherine. Both Isabella and Henry VII were keen on the idea, which had arisen shortly after Arthur's death. On 23 June 1503, a treaty was signed for their marriage, they were betrothed two days later. A papal dispensation was only needed for the "impediment of public honesty" if the marriage had not been consummated as Catherine and her duenna claimed, but Henry VII and the Spanish ambassador set out instead to obtain a dispensation for "affinity", which took account of the possibility of consummation.
Cohabitation was not possible. Isabella's death in 1504, the ensuing problems of succession in Castile, complicated matters, her father preferred her to stay in England, but Henry VII's relations with Ferdinand had deteriorated. Catherine was therefore left in limbo for some time, culminating in Prince Henry's rejection of the marriage as soon he was able, at the age of 14. Ferdinand's solution was to make his daugh
Halfpenny (British pre-decimal coin)
The British pre-decimal halfpenny coin simply known as a halfpenny occasionally as the obol, was a unit of currency that equalled half of a penny or 1⁄480 of a pound sterling. The halfpenny was minted in copper, but after 1860 it was minted in bronze, it ceased to be legal tender in 1969, in the run-up to decimalisation. The halfpenny featured two different designs on its reverse during its years in circulation. From 1672 until 1936 the image of Britannia appeared on the reverse, from 1937 onwards the image of the Golden Hind appeared. Like all British coinage, it bore the portrait of the monarch on the obverse."Halfpenny" was colloquially written ha’penny, "1 1⁄2d" was spoken as "a penny ha’penny" or three ha'pence. Before 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. 42 pence would be three shillings and six pence, pronounced "three and six", whereas 3 shillings would be "3s" or, on a sign in a shop, "3/-".
Values of less than a shilling were written in pence, e.g. eightpence would be 8d (the "d" standing for the Latin word denarii. The original reverse of the bronze version of the coin, designed by Leonard Charles Wyon, is a seated Britannia, holding a trident, with the words HALF PENNY to either side. Issues before 1895 feature a lighthouse to Britannia's left and a ship to her right. Various minor adjustments to the level of the sea depicted around Britannia, the angle of her trident were made over the years; some issues feature toothed edges. Over the years, various different obverses were used. Edward VII, George V, George VI and Elizabeth II each had a single obverse for halfpennies produced during their respective reigns. Over the long reign of Queen Victoria two different obverses were used, but the short reign of Edward VIII meant no halfpennies bearing his likeness were issued. During Victoria’s reign, the halfpenny was first issued with the so-called ‘bun head’, or ‘draped bust’ of Queen Victoria on the obverse.
The inscription around the bust read VICTORIA D G BRITT REG F D. This was replaced in 1895 by the ‘old head’, or ‘veiled bust’; the inscription on these coins read VICTORIA DEI GRA BRITT REGINA FID DEF IND IMP. Coins issued during the reign of Edward VII feature his likeness and bear the inscription EDWARDVS VII DEI GRA BRITT OMN REX FID DEF IND IMP; those issued during the reign of George V feature his likeness and bear the inscription GEORGIVS V DEI GRA BRITT OMN REX FID DEF IND IMP. A halfpenny of King Edward VIII does exist, dated 1937, but technically it is a pattern coin i.e. one produced for official approval which it would have been due to receive about the time that the King abdicated. The obverse shows a left-facing portrait of the king; the pattern coin of Edward VIII and regular issue halfpennies of George VI and Elizabeth II feature a redesigned reverse displaying Sir Francis Drake's ship the Golden Hind. George VI issue coins feature the inscription GEORGIVS VI D G BR OMN REX F D IND IMP before 1949, GEORGIVS VI D G BR OMN REX FIDEI DEF thereafter.
Unlike the penny, halfpennies were minted throughout the early reign of Elizabeth II, bearing the inscription ELIZABETH II DEI GRA BRITT OMN REGINA F D in 1953, ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA F D thereafter. Wikt:ha'porth: Northern British English, from British English "half-penny’s worth" used in the phrase "daft ha’porth". Halfpenny, Coin Type from United Kingdom - Online Coin Club
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor. Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, his second wife, executed two-and-a-half years after Elizabeth's birth. Anne's marriage to Henry VIII was annulled, Elizabeth was declared illegitimate, her half-brother, Edward VI, ruled until his death in 1553, bequeathing the crown to Lady Jane Grey and ignoring the claims of his two half-sisters and the Roman Catholic Mary, in spite of statute law to the contrary. Edward's will was set aside and Mary became queen, deposing Lady Jane Grey. During Mary's reign, Elizabeth was imprisoned for nearly a year on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels. In 1558 upon Mary's death, Elizabeth succeeded her half-sister to the throne and set out to rule by good counsel, she depended on a group of trusted advisers, led by William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley.
One of her first actions as queen was the establishment of an English Protestant church, of which she became the Supreme Governor. This Elizabethan Religious Settlement was to evolve into the Church of England, it was expected that Elizabeth would produce an heir. She was succeeded by her first cousin twice removed, James VI of Scotland, she had earlier been responsible for the imprisonment and execution of James's mother, Queen of Scots. In government, Elizabeth was more moderate. One of her mottoes was "video et taceo". In religion, she was tolerant and avoided systematic persecution. After the pope declared her illegitimate in 1570 and released her subjects from obedience to her, several conspiracies threatened her life, all of which were defeated with the help of her ministers' secret service. Elizabeth was cautious in foreign affairs, manoeuvring between the major powers of Spain, she only half-heartedly supported a number of ineffective, poorly resourced military campaigns in the Netherlands and Ireland.
By the mid-1580s, England could no longer avoid war with Spain. England's defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 associated Elizabeth with one of the greatest military victories in English history; as she grew older, Elizabeth became celebrated for her virginity. A cult grew around her, celebrated in the portraits and literature of the day. Elizabeth's reign became known as the Elizabethan era; the period is famous for the flourishing of English drama, led by playwrights such as William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe, for the seafaring prowess of English adventurers such as Francis Drake. Some historians depict Elizabeth as a short-tempered, sometimes indecisive ruler, who enjoyed more than her share of luck. Towards the end of her reign, a series of economic and military problems weakened her popularity. Elizabeth is acknowledged as a charismatic performer and a dogged survivor in an era when government was ramshackle and limited, when monarchs in neighbouring countries faced internal problems that jeopardised their thrones.
After the short reigns of her half-siblings, her 44 years on the throne provided welcome stability for the kingdom and helped forge a sense of national identity. Elizabeth was born at Greenwich Palace and was named after her grandmothers, Elizabeth of York and Elizabeth Howard, she was the second child of Henry VIII of England born in wedlock to survive infancy. Her mother was Anne Boleyn. At birth, Elizabeth was the heir presumptive to the throne of England, her older half-sister, had lost her position as a legitimate heir when Henry annulled his marriage to Mary's mother, Catherine of Aragon, to marry Anne, with the intent to sire a male heir and ensure the Tudor succession. She was baptised on 10 September 1533. A canopy was carried at the ceremony over the three-day old child by her uncle Viscount Rochford, Lord Hussey, Lord Thomas Howard, Lord Howard of Effingham. Elizabeth was two years and eight months old when her mother was beheaded on 19 May 1536, four months after Catherine of Aragon's death from natural causes.
Elizabeth was deprived of her place in the royal succession. Eleven days after Anne Boleyn's execution, Henry married Jane Seymour, who died shortly after the birth of their son, Edward, in 1537. From his birth, Edward was undisputed heir apparent to the throne. Elizabeth was placed in his household and carried the chrisom, or baptismal cloth, at his christening. Elizabeth's first governess, Margaret Bryan, wrote that she was "as toward a child and as gentle of conditions as I knew any in my life". Catherine Champernowne, better known by her married name of Catherine "Kat" Ashley, was appointed as Elizabeth's governess in 1537, she remained Elizabeth's friend until her death in 1565. Champernowne taught Elizabeth four languages: French, Flemish and Spanish. By the time William Grindal became her tutor in 1544, Elizabeth could write English and Italian. Under Grindal, a talented and skilful tutor, she progressed in French and Greek. After Grindal died in 1548, Elizabeth received her education under Roger Ascham, a sympathetic teacher who believed that learning should be engaging.
By the time her formal education ended in 1550, Elizabeth was one of the best educated women of her generation. At the end of her life, Elizabeth was believed to speak Welsh, Cornish and Irish in addition to the languages men
History of the English penny (c. 600 – 1066)
The history of the English penny can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of the 7th century: to the small, thick silver coins known to contemporaries as pæningas or denarii, though now referred to as sceattas by numismatists. Broader, thinner pennies inscribed with the name of the king were introduced to southern England in the middle of the 8th century. Coins of this format remained the foundation of the English currency until the 14th century; the history of Anglo-Saxon coinage spans more than five centuries, from the end of Roman rule in Britain in the 5th century, down to the death of Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066. It can be divided into four basic phases: c. 450 – c. 550: a low level of coin-use in Britain, characterised by re-use of Roman coinage, though in a non-monetary context. A small number of coins continued to be brought in from Gaul and elsewhere on the Continent. C. 550 – c. 680: the'gold' phase of currency, which began with an increase in the rate of importation of continental gold, principally in the form of tremisses.
From around 620 English gold coins of similar format were produced known to numismatists as thrymsas. By the middle of the 7th century the quantity of gold in these coins was falling such that by the 670s they were more or less silver. C. 680 – c. 750: the age of the sceattas – small, thick silver coins which evolved out of the latest, debased gold coins. These should more be referred to as pennies or denarii as in weight and fineness they approximated the form the English penny was to retain for centuries, contemporary references suggest this is how they were known. Most sceattas are thus difficult to attribute, it should be noted that in Northumbria, coins of this format continued to be struck under closer royal control until the 860s, though by the early 9th century they contained only a negligible quantity of precious metal. C. 750 – 14 October 1066: the silver coinage of sceattas petered out in Southumbrian England in the middle of the 8th century, to be replaced by a broader, thinner model of silver coinage modelled on that of contemporary Carolingian coinage.
These new coins carried legends naming the king and the mint of origin. With various modifications in weight and fineness this format of coinage remained standard for the rest of the period, indeed silver pennies of similar design remained the basis for the English currency until the 14th century. Pennies of this form were made by English kings from Offa onwards, by Viking rulers from the 9th century. In the gold phase of the coinage, the currency consisted overwhelmingly of gold tremisses or thrymsas of c. 1.10 – 1.30g, though a few solidi exist, modelled on Roman coins. Thereafter the currency was less based on a single denomination: the silver penny. In the early 870s the first round halfpennies were produced under Alfred the Great and Ceolwulf II of Mercia; the only known examples of larger silver denominations are two'offering pieces' produced in the reign of Alfred the Great weighing the equivalent of six regular pennies, which were made as alms-pieces to be sent abroad. Although gold ceased to be the predominant form of currency in the 7th century, from the late 8th century onwards there was some use of fine gold coinage for special, high-value transactions.
These gold pieces were known as mancuses. The form of gold coinage varied in the 8th and 9th centuries, drawing inspiration from Roman, Byzantine and Carolingian gold coinages, but by the 10th century gold coins were made by striking a gold piece with the same dies as were used for regular minting of silver. Only eight English gold coins with intelligible legends survive from between the 8th century and 1066, it is difficult to ascertain the extent of coin-use in Anglo-Saxon England. Written references to minting and money are scarce, it is that a single silver penny had considerable buying power – something in the region of £10–£30 in modern currency, their use may have been concentrated in certain classes of society, was most associated with particular transactions such as the payment of rents and legal fees. However, analysis of surviving single-finds shows that coins were used extensively in the eastern half of England, both within and outside towns. Substantial numbers of English coins have been found elsewhere in Europe in Italy and Scandinavia, while English designs were influential on the emergent coinages of Ireland, Sweden and Bohemia.
At the end of the 4th century, the Roman provinces of Britain were still part of a vibrant and quite efficient economic and monetary system that stretched over the whole Roman world. Precious metal coins of gold and silver were used for the payment of taxes reminted for payment to the military and civil service. Bronze coinage was issued on a more occasional basis and was produced to serve the needs of commerce in the provinces. Minting – and control over precious metals in general – across the western empire was under the control of the Comes sacrarum largitionum, with a number of major mints situated at Trier, Milan, Raven
Crown (British coin)
The British crown, the successor to the English crown and the Scottish dollar, came into being with the Union of the kingdoms of England and Scotland in 1707. As with the English coin, its value was five shillings. Always a heavy silver coin weighing around one ounce, during the 19th and 20th centuries the crown declined from being a real means of exchange to being a coin spent and minted for commemorative purposes only. In that format it has continued to be minted following decimalisation of the British currency in 1971. However, as the result of inflation the value of the coin was revised upwards in 1990 to five pounds; the coin's origins lay in the English silver crown, one of many silver coins that appeared in various countries from the 16th century onwards, the most famous example being the famous Spanish pieces of eight, all of which were of a similar size and weight and thus interchangeable in international trade. The kingdom of England minted gold Crowns in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The dies for all gold and silver coins of Queen Anne and King George I were engraved by John Croker, a migrant from Dresden in the Duchy of Saxony. The British crown was always a large coin, from the 19th century it did not circulate well. However, crowns were struck in a new monarch's coronation year, true of each monarch since King George IV up until the present monarch in 1953, with the single exception of King George V; the Queen Victoria "Gothic" crown of 1847 is considered by many to be the most beautiful British coin minted. The King George V "wreath" crowns struck from 1927 through 1936 depict a wreath on the reverse of the coin and were struck in low numbers. Struck late in the year and intended to be purchased as Christmas gifts, they did not circulate well, with the rarest of all dates, 1934, now fetching several thousand pounds each; the 1927 "wreath" crowns were struck as proofs only. With its large size, many of the coins were commemoratives; the 1951 issue was for the Festival of Britain, was only struck in proof condition.
The 1953 crown was issued to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, while the 1960 issue commemorated the British Exhibition in New York. The 1965 issue carried the image of Winston Churchill on the reverse, the first time a non-monarch or commoner was placed on a British coin, marked his death. According to the Standard Catalogue of coins, 19,640,000 of this coin were minted, a high number at the time, making them of little value today except as a mark of respect for the national war leader. Production of the Churchill Crown began on 11 October 1965, stopped in the summer of 1966; the crown was worth five shillings until decimalisation in February 1971. The last five shilling piece was minted in 1965; the crown coin was nicknamed the dollar, but is not to be confused with the British trade dollar that circulated in the Orient. In 2014, a new world record price was achieved for a milled silver crown; the coin was issued as a pattern by engraver Thomas Simon in 1663 and nicknamed the "Reddite Crown".
This was presented to Charles II as the new crown piece but was rejected in favour of the Roettiers Brothers' design. Auctioneers Spink & Son of London sold the coin on 27 March 2014 for £396,000 including commission. After decimalisation on 15 February 1971, a new coin known as a 25p piece was introduced. Whilst being legal tender, having the same decimal value as a crown, the 25p pieces were issued to commemorate events, such as: the 1972 piece was for the Silver Wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. All of these issues were struck in large mintages, in plastic cases, in cupro-nickel, an alloy of 75% copper and 25% nickel. However, in addition to this, limited numbers of collectors' coins of these modern issues were struck to proof quality separately by the Royal Mint in sterling silver and presented with certificates of authenticity in boxes; the mintages for the silver proof 25p coins issued are as follows: 1972: 100,000 1977: 377,000 1980: 83,672 1981: 218,142Further issues continue to be minted to the present day with a value of twenty-five pence, from 1990, with a value of five pounds.
The legal tender value of the crown remained as five shillings from 1544 to 1965. However, for most of this period there was no denominational designation or "face value" mark of value displayed on the coin. From 1927 to 1939, the word "CROWN" appears, from 1951 to 1960 this was changed to "FIVE SHILLINGS". After decimalisation in 1971, the face value kept its five shillings equivalent at 25 new pence simply 25 pence, although the face value is not shown on any of these issues. From 1990, the crown was re-tariffed at five pounds in view of its large size compared with its face value, taking into consideration its production costs, the Royal Mint's profits on sales of commemorative coins. While this change was understandable, it has brought with it a slight confusion, the popular misbelief that all crowns have a five-pound face value, i