The Glorious Revolution called the Revolution of 1688, was the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III, Prince of Orange, James's nephew and son-in-law. William's successful invasion of England with a Dutch fleet and army led to his ascension to the throne as William III of England jointly with his wife, Mary II, James's daughter, after the Declaration of Right, leading to the Bill of Rights 1689. King James's policies of religious tolerance after 1685 met with increasing opposition from members of leading political circles, who were troubled by the King's Catholicism and his close ties with France; the crisis facing the King came with the birth of his son, James, on 10 June. This changed the existing line of succession by displacing the heir presumptive with young James as heir apparent; the establishment of a Roman Catholic dynasty in the British kingdoms now seemed likely. Some Tory members of parliament worked with members of the opposition Whigs in an attempt to resolve the crisis by secretly initiating dialogue with William of Orange to come to England, outside the jurisdiction of the English Parliament.
Stadtholder William, the de facto head of state of the Dutch United Provinces, feared a Catholic Anglo–French alliance and had been planning a military intervention in England. After consolidating political and financial support, William crossed the North Sea and English Channel with a large invasion fleet in November 1688, landing at Torbay. After only two minor clashes between the two opposing armies in England, anti-Catholic riots in several towns, James's regime collapsed because of a lack of resolve shown by the king; this was followed, however, by the protracted Williamite War in Ireland and Dundee's rising in Scotland. In England's distant American colonies, the revolution led to the collapse of the Dominion of New England and the overthrow of the Province of Maryland's government. Following a defeat of his forces at the Battle of Reading on 9 December 1688, James and his wife Mary fled England. By threatening to withdraw his troops, William, in February 1689, convinced a newly chosen Convention Parliament to make him and his wife joint monarchs.
The Revolution permanently ended any chance of Catholicism becoming re-established in England. For British Catholics its effects were disastrous both and politically: For over a century Catholics were denied the right to vote and sit in the Westminster Parliament; the Revolution led to limited tolerance for Nonconformist Protestants, although it would be some time before they had full political rights. It has been argued by Whig historians, that James's overthrow began modern English parliamentary democracy: the Bill of Rights 1689 has become one of the most important documents in the political history of Britain and never since has the monarch held absolute power. Internationally, the Revolution was related to the War of the Grand Alliance on mainland Europe, it has been seen as the last successful invasion of England. It ended all attempts by England in the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the 17th century to subdue the Dutch Republic by military force; the resulting economic integration and military co-operation between the English and Dutch navies, shifted the dominance in world trade from the Dutch Republic to England and to Great Britain.
The expression "Glorious Revolution" was first used by John Hampden in late 1689, is an expression, still used by the British Parliament. The Glorious Revolution is occasionally termed the Bloodless Revolution, albeit inaccurately; the English Civil War was still within living memory for most of the major English participants in the events of 1688, for them, in comparison to that war the deaths in the conflict of 1688 were few. During his three-year reign, King James II became directly involved in the political battles in England between Catholicism and Protestantism, between the concept of the divine right of kings and the political rights of the Parliament of England. James's greatest political problem was his Catholicism, which left him alienated from both parties in England; the low church Whigs had failed in their attempt to pass the Exclusion Bill to exclude James from the throne between 1679 and 1681, James's supporters were the high church Anglican Tories. In Scotland, his supporters in the Parliament of Scotland stepped up attempts to force the Covenanters to renounce their faith and accept episcopalian rule of the church by the monarch.
When James inherited the English throne in 1685, he had much support in the'Loyal Parliament', composed of Tories. His Catholicism was of concern to many, but the fact that he had no son, his daughters and Anne, were Protestants, was a "saving grace". James's attempt to relax the Penal Laws alienated his natural supporters, because the Tories viewed this as tantamount to disestablishment of the Church of England. Abandoning the Tories, James looked to form a'King's party' as a counterweight to the Anglican Tories, so in 1687 James supported the policy of religious toleration and issued the Declaration of Indulgence; the majority of Irish people backed James II for this reason and because of his promise to the Irish
James II of England
James II and VII was King of England and Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685 until he was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The last Roman Catholic monarch of England and Ireland, his reign is now remembered for struggles over religious tolerance. However, it involved the principles of absolutism and divine right of kings and his deposition ended a century of political and civil strife by confirming the primacy of Parliament over the Crown. James inherited the thrones of England and Scotland with widespread support in all three countries based on the principle of divine right or birth. Tolerance for his personal Catholicism did not apply to it in general and when the English and Scottish Parliaments refused to pass his measures, James attempted to impose them by decree. In June 1688, two events turned dissent into a crisis; the second was the prosecution of the Seven Bishops for seditious libel. Anti-Catholic riots in England and Scotland now made it seem only his removal as monarch could prevent a civil war.
Representatives of the English political elite invited William to assume the English throne. In February 1689, Parliament held he had'vacated' the English throne and installed William and Mary as joint monarchs, establishing the principle that sovereignty derived from Parliament, not birth. James landed in Ireland on 14 March 1689 in an attempt to recover his kingdoms but despite a simultaneous rising in Scotland, in April a Scottish Convention followed their English colleagues by ruling James had'forfeited' the throne and offered it to William and Mary. After defeat at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690, James returned to France where he spent the rest of his life in exile at Saint-Germain, protected by Louis XIV. James, the second surviving son of King Charles I and his wife, Henrietta Maria of France, was born at St James's Palace in London on 14 October 1633; that same year, he was baptised by William Laud, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury. He was educated by private tutors, along with his older brother, the future King Charles II, the two sons of the Duke of Buckingham and Francis Villiers.
At the age of three, James was appointed Lord High Admiral. He was designated Duke of York at birth, invested with the Order of the Garter in 1642, formally created Duke of York in January 1644; the King's disputes with the English Parliament grew into the English Civil War. James accompanied his father at the Battle of Edgehill, where he narrowly escaped capture by the Parliamentary army, he subsequently stayed in Oxford, the chief Royalist stronghold, where he was made a M. A. by the University on 1 November 1642 and served as colonel of a volunteer regiment of foot. When the city surrendered after the siege of Oxford in 1646, Parliamentary leaders ordered the Duke of York to be confined in St James's Palace. Disguised as a woman, he escaped from the Palace in 1648 with the help of Joseph Bampfield, crossed the North Sea to The Hague; when Charles I was executed by the rebels in 1649, monarchists proclaimed James's older brother king as Charles II of England. Charles II was recognised as king by the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of Ireland, was crowned King of Scotland at Scone in 1651.
Although he was proclaimed King in Jersey, Charles was unable to secure the crown of England and fled to France and exile. Like his brother, James sought refuge in France, serving in the French army under Turenne against the Fronde, against their Spanish allies. In the French army James had his first true experience of battle where, according to one observer, he "ventures himself and chargeth gallantly where anything is to be done". Turenne's favour led to James being given command of a captured Irish regiment in December 1652, being appointed Lieutenant-General in 1654. In the meantime, Charles was attempting to reclaim his throne, but France, although hosting the exiles, had allied itself with Oliver Cromwell. In 1656, Charles turned instead to Spain – an enemy of France – for support, an alliance was made. In consequence, James was forced to leave Turenne's army. James quarrelled with his brother over the diplomatic choice of Spain over France. Exiled and poor, there was little that either Charles or James could do about the wider political situation, James travelled to Bruges and joined the Spanish army under Louis, Prince of Condé in Flanders, where he was given command as Captain-General of six regiments of British volunteers and fought against his former French comrades at the Battle of the Dunes.
During his service in the Spanish army, James became friendly with two Irish Catholic brothers in the Royalist entourage and Richard Talbot, became somewhat estranged from his brother's Anglican advisers. In 1659, the French and Spanish made peace. James, doubtful of his brother's chances of regaining the throne, considered taking a Spanish offer to be an admiral in their navy, he declined the position.
A penny is a coin or a unit of currency in various countries. Borrowed from the Carolingian denarius, it is the smallest denomination within a currency system. Presently, it is the formal name of the British penny and the informal name of one American cent as well as the informal Irish designation of 1 cent euro coin, it is the informal name of the cent unit of account in Canada, although one cent coins are no longer minted there. The name is used in reference to various historical currencies derived from the Carolingian system, such as the French denier and the German pfennig, it may be informally used to refer to any similar smallest-denomination coin, such as the euro cent or Chinese fen. The Carolingian penny was a.940-fine silver coin weighing 1/240 pound. It was adopted by Offa of Mercia and other English kings and remained the principal currency in Europe over the next few centuries until repeated debasements necessitated the development of more valuable coins; the British penny remained a silver coin until the expense of the Napoleonic Wars prompted the use of base metals in 1797.
Despite the decimalization of currencies in the United States and throughout the British Commonwealth, the name remains in informal use. No penny is formally subdivided, although farthings and half cents have been minted and the mill remains in use as a unit of account in some contexts. Penny is first attested in a 1394 Scots text, a variant of Old English peni, a development of numerous variations including pennig and pending; the etymology of the term "penny" is uncertain, although cognates are common across all Germanic languages and suggest a base *pan-, *pann-, or *pand- with the individualizing suffix -ing. Common suggestions include that it was *panding as a Low Franconian form of Old High German pfant "pawn", it has been proposed that it may represent an early borrowing of Punic pn, as the face of Carthaginian goddess Tanit was represented on nearly all Carthaginian currency. Following decimalization, the British and Irish coins were marked "new penny" until 1982 and 1985, respectively.
The regular plural pennies fell out of use in England from the 16th century, except in reference to coins considered individually. It remains common in Scottish English and is standard for all senses in American English, however, the informal "penny" is only used of the coins in any case, values being expressed in "cents"; the informal name for the American cent seems to have spread from New York State. In British English, prior to decimalization, values from two to eleven pence and of twenty pence are written and spoken as a single word, as twopence or tuppence, threepence or thruppence, &c. Where a single coin represented a number of pence, it was treated as a single noun, as a sixpence or two eightpences. Thus, "a threepence" would be single coin of that value whereas "three pence" would be its value and "three pennies" would be three penny coins. In British English, divisions of a penny were added to such combinations without a conjunction, as sixpence-farthing, such constructions were treated as single nouns.
Adjectival use of such coins used the ending -penny, as sixpenny. The British abbreviation d. derived from the Latin denarius. It followed the amount after a space, it has been replaced since decimalization by p written without a space or period. From this abbreviation, it is common to speak of pennies and values in pence as "p". In North America, it is common to abbreviate cents with the currency symbol ¢. Elsewhere, it is written with a simple c; the medieval silver penny was modeled on similar coins in antiquity, such as the Greek drachma, the Carthaginian shekel, the Roman denarius. Forms of these seem to have reached as far as Sweden; the use of Roman currency in Britain seems to have fallen off after the Roman withdrawal and subsequent Saxon invasions. Charlemagne's father Pepin the Short instituted a major currency reform around AD 755, aiming to reorganise Francia's previous silver standard with a standardized.940-fine denier weighing 1⁄240 pound. Around 790, Charlemagne introduced a new.950 or.960-fine penny with a smaller diameter.
Surviving specimens have an average weight of 1.70 grams, although some estimate the original ideal mass at 1.76 grams. Despite the purity and quality of these pennies, they were rejected by traders throughout the Carolingian period in favor of the gold coins used elsewhere, a situation that led to repeated legislation against such refusal to accept the king's currency; some of the Anglo-Saxons kingdoms copied the solidus, the late Roman gold coin. Around AD 641–670, there seems to have been a movement to use coins with a lower gold content; this decreased their value and may have increased the number that could be minted, but these paler coins do not seem to have solved the problem of the value and scarcity of the currency
Farthing (British coin)
The British farthing coin, from "fourthing", was a unit of currency of one quarter of a penny, or 1⁄960 of a pound sterling. It was minted in bronze, replaced the earlier copper farthings, it was used during the reign of six monarchs: Victoria, Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, George VI and Elizabeth II, ceasing to be legal tender in 1960. It featured two different designs on its reverse during its 100 years in circulation: from 1860 until 1936, the image of Britannia. Like all British coinage, it bore the portrait of the monarch on the obverse. Before Decimal Day in 1971, there were 240 pence in one pound sterling. There were four farthings in a penny, 12 pence made a shilling, 20 shillings made a pound. Values less than a pound were written in terms of shillings and pence, e.g. three shillings and six pence, pronounced "three and six" or "three and sixpence". Values of less than a shilling were written in pence, e.g. 8d, pronounced "eightpence". A price with a farthing in it would be written like this:, pronounced "nineteen and elevenpence farthing".
The purchasing power of a farthing from 1860 to its demise in 1960 ranged between 2p to 12p. The original reverse of the coin, designed by Leonard Charles Wyon, is a seated Britannia, holding a trident, with the word FARTHING above. 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, seven different obverses were used. Edward VII, George V, George VI and Elizabeth II each had a single obverse for farthings produced during their respective reigns. Over the long reign of Queen Victoria two different obverses were used, the short reign of Edward VIII meant that no farthings bearing his likeness were issued; the farthing 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 farthing 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 farthings of George VI and Elizabeth II feature a redesigned reverse displaying the wren, one of Britain's smallest birds. 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, farthings 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.
Pound sterling Mill British Coins – information about British coins Collection of copper & bronze pennies of Great Britain About Farthings A photographic collection of farthings Farthings Private Collection of farthings dating from 1799-1956
Thistle is the common name of a group of flowering plants characterised by leaves with sharp prickles on the margins in the family Asteraceae. Prickles occur all over the plant -- on flat parts of leaves, they are an adaptation. An involucre with a clasping shape of a cup or urn subtends each of a thistle's flowerheads; the term thistle is sometimes taken to mean those plants in the tribe Cardueae the genera Carduus and Onopordum. However, plants outside this tribe are sometimes called thistles, if this is done thistles would form a polyphyletic group. A thistle is the floral emblem of Lorraine and Scotland, as well as the emblem of the Encyclopædia Britannica. Genera in the Asteraceae with the word thistle used in their common names include: Carduus – musk thistle and others Carlina – carline thistle Carthamus – distaff thistle Centaurea – star thistle Cicerbita – sow thistle Cirsium – common thistle, field thistle and others Cnicus – blessed thistle Cynara – artichoke, cardoon Echinops – globe thistle Notobasis – Syrian thistle Onopordum – cotton thistle known as Scots or Scotch thistle Scolymus – golden thistle or oyster thistle Silybum – milk thistle Sonchus – sow thistlePlants in families other than Asteraceae which are sometimes called thistle include: Kali – Russian thistle, Tartar thistle, or tumbleweed, plants classified in the genus Salsola Argemone mexicana – flowering thistle, Mexican prickly poppy Thistles if one restricts the term to members of the Asteraceae, are too varied a group for generalisation.
Typical adverse effects are competition with crops and interference with grazing in pastures, where dense growths of spiny vegetation suppress forage plants and repel grazing animals from eating either the thistle plants or neighbouring forage. Some species, although not intensely poisonous, do affect the health of animals that swallow more than small amounts of the material. Conversely however, the genus Cynara includes commercially important species of artichoke and some species regarded as major weeds are commercial sources of vegetable rennet used in commercial cheese making; some species of Silybum that occur as weeds are cultivated for seeds that yield vegetable oil and pharmaceutical compounds such as Silibinin. Other thistles that nominally are weeds are important honey plants, both as bee fodder in general, as sources of luxury monofloral honey products. Thistle flowers are favourite nectar sources of the pearl-bordered fritillary, small pearl-bordered fritillary, high brown fritillary, dark green fritillary butterflies.
Thistles attract goldfinches. Some thistles, have been introduced outside their native range. Control measures include Trichosirocalus weevils, but a problem with this approach, at least in North America, is that the introduced weevils may affect native thistles at least as much as the desired targets. Thistles have been said to be important nectar sources for pollinators; some ecological organizations, such as the Xerces Society, have attempted to raise awareness of their benefits, to counteract the general agricultural and home garden labeling of thistles as unwanted weeds. The monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus for instance, was highlighted as traditionally relying upon taller large-flowered thistle species such as Tall thistle, Cirsium altissimum, for its migration. Although such organizations focus on the benefits of native thistles, certain non-native thistles, such as Cirsium vulgare in North America, may provide similar benefits to wildlife; some prairie and wildflower seed production companies supply bulk seed for native North American thistle species, for wildlife habitat restoration, although availability tends to be low.
Thistles are valued by bumblebees for their high nectar production. Cirsium vulgare ranked in the top 10 for nectar production in a UK plants survey conducted by the AgriLand project, supported by the UK Insect Pollinators Initiative. Bull thistle was a top producer of nectar sugar in another study in Britain, ranked third with a production per floral unit of. Maud Grieve recorded that Pliny and medieval writers had thought it could return hair to bald heads and that in the early modern period it had been believed to be a remedy for headaches, canker sores and jaundice; the thistle has been the national emblem of Scotland since the reign of Alexander III and was used on silver coins issued by James III in 1470. It is the symbol of the Order of a high chivalric order of Scotland, it is found as the name of several Scottish football clubs. The thistle, crowned with the Scottish crown, was the symbol of seven of the eight former Scottish Police Services, the sole exception being the former Northern Constabulary.
The thistle is the emblem of Encyclopædia Britannica, which originated in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is used to symbolise connection with Scotland overseas. For example, in Canada, it is one of the four floral emblems on the flag of Montreal. According to a legend, an invading Norse army was attempting to sneak up at night upon a Scottish army's encampment. During this operation one barefoot Norseman had the misfortune to step upon a thistle, causing him to cry out in pain, thus a
Charles II of England
Charles II was king of England and Ireland. He was king of Scotland from 1649 until his deposition in 1651, king of England and Ireland from the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 until his death. Charles II's father, Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War. Although the Parliament of Scotland proclaimed Charles II king on 5 February 1649, England entered the period known as the English Interregnum or the English Commonwealth, the country was a de facto republic, led by Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell defeated Charles II at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651, Charles fled to mainland Europe. Cromwell became virtual dictator of England and Ireland. Charles spent the next nine years in exile in France, the Dutch Republic and the Spanish Netherlands. A political crisis that followed the death of Cromwell in 1658 resulted in the restoration of the monarchy, Charles was invited to return to Britain. On 29 May 1660, his 30th birthday, he was received in London to public acclaim.
After 1660, all legal documents were dated as if he had succeeded his father as king in 1649. Charles's English parliament enacted laws known as the Clarendon Code, designed to shore up the position of the re-established Church of England. Charles acquiesced to the Clarendon Code though he favoured a policy of religious tolerance; the major foreign policy issue of his early reign was the Second Anglo-Dutch War. In 1670, he entered into the Treaty of Dover, an alliance with his first cousin King Louis XIV of France. Louis agreed to aid him in the Third Anglo-Dutch War and pay him a pension, Charles secretly promised to convert to Catholicism at an unspecified future date. Charles attempted to introduce religious freedom for Catholics and Protestant dissenters with his 1672 Royal Declaration of Indulgence, but the English Parliament forced him to withdraw it. In 1679, Titus Oates's revelations of a supposed Popish Plot sparked the Exclusion Crisis when it was revealed that Charles's brother and heir, Duke of York, was a Catholic.
The crisis saw the birth of anti-exclusion Tory parties. Charles sided with the Tories, following the discovery of the Rye House Plot to murder Charles and James in 1683, some Whig leaders were executed or forced into exile. Charles dissolved the English Parliament in 1681, ruled alone until his death on 6 February 1685, he was received into the Catholic Church on his deathbed. Charles was one of the most popular and beloved kings of England, known as the Merry Monarch, in reference to both the liveliness and hedonism of his court and the general relief at the return to normality after over a decade of rule by Cromwell and the Puritans. Charles's wife, Catherine of Braganza, bore no live children, but Charles acknowledged at least twelve illegitimate children by various mistresses, he was succeeded by his brother James. Charles II was born at St James's Palace on 29 May 1630, his parents were Charles I, who ruled the three kingdoms of England and Ireland, Henrietta Maria, the sister of the French king Louis XIII.
Charles was their second child. Their first son died within a day. England and Ireland were predominantly Anglican and Catholic. Charles was baptised in the Chapel Royal, on 27 June, by the Anglican Bishop of London, William Laud, he was brought up in the care of the Protestant Countess of Dorset, though his godparents included his maternal uncle Louis XIII and his maternal grandmother, Marie de' Medici, the Dowager Queen of France, both of whom were Catholics. At birth, Charles automatically became Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay, along with several other associated titles. At or around his eighth birthday, he was designated Prince of Wales, though he was never formally invested. During the 1640s, when Charles was still young, his father fought Parliamentary and Puritan forces in the English Civil War. Charles accompanied his father during the Battle of Edgehill and, at the age of fourteen, participated in the campaigns of 1645, when he was made titular commander of the English forces in the West Country.
By spring 1646, his father was losing the war, Charles left England due to fears for his safety. Setting off from Falmouth after staying at Pendennis Castle, he went first to the Isles of Scilly to Jersey, to France, where his mother was living in exile and his first cousin, eight-year-old Louis XIV, was king. Charles I surrendered into captivity in May 1646. In 1648, during the Second English Civil War, Charles moved to The Hague, where his sister Mary and his brother-in-law William II, Prince of Orange, seemed more to provide substantial aid to the royalist cause than his mother's French relations. However, the royalist fleet that came under Charles's control was not used to any advantage, did not reach Scotland in time to join up with the royalist Engager army of the Duke of Hamilton before it was defeated at the Battle of Preston by the Parliamentarians. At The Hague, Charles had a brief affair with Lucy Walter, who falsely claimed that they had secretly married, her son, James Crofts, was one of Charles's many illegitimate children who became prominent in British society.
Despite his son's diplomatic efforts to save him, King Charles I was beheaded in January 1649, England became a republic. On 5 February, the Covenanter Parliament of Scotland proclaimed Charles II "King of Great Britain and Ireland" at the Mercat Cross, but refused to allow him to enter Scotland unless he accepted the imposition of Presbyterianism throughout Britain and Ireland; when negotiations with the Scot
Coins of the pound sterling
The standard circulating coinage of the United Kingdom is denominated in pounds sterling, since the introduction of the two-pound coin in 1994, ranges in value from one penny to two pounds. Since decimalisation, on 15 February 1971, the pound has been divided into 100 pence. From the 16th century until decimalisation, the pound was divided into 20 shillings, each of 12 pence. British coins are minted by the Royal Mint in Wales; the Royal Mint commissions the coins' designs. As of 31 March 2016, there were an estimated 30.14 billion coins circulating in the United Kingdom. The first decimal coins were circulated in 1968; these were the five pence and ten pence, had values of one shilling and two shillings under the pre-decimal £sd system. The decimal coins are minted in copper-plated steel, nickel-plated steel and nickel-brass; the two-pound coins, and, as from 28 March 2017 the new one-pound coins, are bimetallic. The coins are discs, except for the twenty pence and fifty pence pieces, both of which have faces that are heptagonal curves of constant width, the new one-pound coins, which have faces with 12 sides.
All the circulating coins have an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, various national and regional designs, the denomination, on the reverse. The circulating coins, excepting the two-pound coin, were redesigned in 2008, keeping the sizes and compositions unchanged, but introducing reverse designs that each depict a part of the Royal Shield of Arms and form the whole shield when they are placed together in the appropriate arrangement; the exception, the 2008 one-pound coin, depicts the entire shield of arms on the reverse. All current coins carry a Latin inscription whose full form is ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA FIDEI DEFENSATRIX, meaning "Elizabeth II, by the grace of God and Defender of the Faith". In addition to the circulating coinage, the UK mints commemorative decimal coins in the denomination of five pounds. Prior to decimalisation, the denomination of special commemorative coins was five shillings, that is, 1⁄4 of a pound. Crowns, had a face value of 25p from decimalisation until 1981, when the last 25p crown was struck.
Ceremonial Maundy money and bullion coinage of gold sovereigns, half sovereigns, gold and silver Britannia coins are produced. Some territories outside the United Kingdom, which use the pound sterling, produce their own coinage, with the same denominations and specifications as the UK coinage but with local designs. In the years just before decimalisation, the circulating British coins were the half crown, two shillings or florin, sixpence, threepence and halfpenny; the farthing had been withdrawn in 1960. There was the Crown, which was, still is legal tender, worth 25p, but did not circulate. All modern coins feature a profile of the current monarch's head; the direction in which they face changes with each successive monarch, a pattern that began with the Stuarts. For the Tudors and pre-Restoration Stuarts, both left and right-facing portrait images were minted within the reign of a single monarch. In the Middle Ages, portrait images tended to be full face. From a early date, British coins have been inscribed with the name of the ruler of the kingdom in which they were produced, a longer or shorter title, always in Latin.
The English silver penny was derived from another silver coin, the sceat, of 20 troy grains weight, in general circulation in Europe during the Middle Ages. In the 12th century, Henry II established the sterling silver standard for English coinage, of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, replacing the earlier use of fine silver in the Middle Ages. The coinage reform of 1816 set up physical sizes for silver coins. Silver was eliminated from coins, except Maundy coins, in 1947; the history of the Royal Mint stretches back to AD 886. For many centuries production was in London at the Tower of London, at premises nearby in Tower Hill in what is today known as Royal Mint Court. In the 1970s production was transferred to Llantrisant in South Wales. Scotland and England had separate coinage. Coins were hand-hammered — an ancient technique in which two dies are struck together with a blank coin between them; this was the traditional method of manufacturing coins in the Western world from the classical Greek era onwards, in contrast with Asia, where coins were traditionally cast.
Milled coins were produced first during the reign of Elizabeth I and periodically during the subsequent reigns of James I and Charles I, but there was opposition to mechanisation from the moneyers, who ensured that most coins continued to be produced by hammering. All British coins produced since 1662 have been milled; the English penny first appeared as a silver coin. It was derived from another silver coin, the sceat, of 20 troy grains weight, in general circulation in Europe during the Middle Ages; the weight of the English penny was fixed at 22 1⁄2 troy grains by Offa of Mercia, an 8th-century contemporary of Charlemagne. The coin's designated value, was that of 24 troy grains of silver, with the difference b