© R Blunt 2017-2019. Proudly created with Wix.com

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon

Long Cross Pennies

Mints and Moneyers

The earliest coins (sub-class 1a) of the long cross issue bear neither an indication of the mint at which they were struck, nor the name of the moneyer responsible for their issue. The absence of this information was a break with established practice dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, and the most likely explanation for its omission is that the coins were struck solely at London, where Nicholas de Sancto Albano (Nicole on the coins) alone had responsibility. Hence, by default, the mint and moneyer were identifiable. Sub-class 1a, however, was of very brief duration, and the principal change that came about with the issue of sub-class 1b was the addition of a mint signature to the reverse inscription.

The mint signatures that occur on sub-class 1b are those of London, Canterbury and Bury St Edmunds, coins of the last mint being extremely rare. There were, in fact, four ‘permanent’ mints in England at the time, and it is rather strange that the fourth of these, Durham, did not participate at this stage in what was a major recoinage. The mint had apparently fallen dormant some years beforehand, and although it was responsible for striking some of the later classes, it played no part in the early years when the level of activity was at a maximum. In fact all Durham long cross coins are quite scarce. Nicholas de Sancto Albano was the moneyer responsible for both of the King’s mints (London and Canterbury), and the Abbot of Bury St Edmunds had a single moneyer, so the requirement for traceability was met by indicating the mint alone.

It must have been apparent from the start of the project that the permanent mints alone would be unable to cope with the demands of the recoinage, and that a countrywide network of temporary mints and exchanges would be required. (The early coins produced in the permanent mints were, of course, necessary to initiate the process, as merchants bringing silver to the exchanges would require payment immediately in coins of the new type.) Instructions were accordingly issued for the establishment of sixteen temporary mints, located in towns and cities across the country. The places chosen were Bristol, Carlisle, Exeter*, Gloucester*, Hereford, Ilchester, Lincoln*, Newcastle, Northampton*, Norwich*, Oxford*, Shrewsbury, Wallingford, Wilton, Winchester* and York*.They operated between 1248 and 1250, with some opening a little earlier than others. The eight that are asterisked (*) produced coins of classes 2 and 3, while the remainder struck in class 3 alone. The permanent mints (excluding Durham) also struck in both classes.

The involvement of the temporary mints, each with an initial complement of four moneyers, necessitated the design change that occurs on class 2, by which both the mint and the moneyer are named on the reverse of the coin. Class 3 coins (and all subsequent classes) continue the reverse format of class 2. The only difference between the two classes is a cosmetic one in which the king’s regnal number is changed from TERCI (an abbreviation indicating ‘the third’) to III.

After the closure of the temporary mints, the four permanent mints (Durham at last included) participated in what amounted to routine production rather than recoinage. The obverse design was changed to show the king with a sceptre in his right hand, and other cosmetic changes were made that define the later classes, 4 through to 7. The details of these changes are described elsewhere in this article.

Before leaving the mints and turning to the moneyers, it is worth mentioning that Durham and Bury were ecclesiastical mints, the profits of which were due respectively to the bishop and the abbot, not the king. The archbishop of Canterbury also had his own moneyer, and shared the profits of that city’s mint with the king. Likewise, the archbishop of York enjoyed the benefit of one moneyer during the brief recoinage period. Unlike the later Edwardian coins, the long cross pennies carry no marks that differentiate the ecclesiastical from the royal issues.

We are very fortunate with regard to the information that is available concerning the moneyers of this coinage, particularly those responsible for the temporary mints. A list of their names, along with those of other mint officials, was made at the time of their appointment and has survived the passage of time. Coins of all of those named are known today, and just three additional names occur. One of these, Roger at Bristol, probably represents a later appointment following the death or termination of office of the original appointee. Another, Walter at Lincoln, is possibly accounted for by an error in the original list. The third, Tomas at York, was the archbishop’s moneyer, and thus additional to the four moneyers of the royal mint. Further details of the list (from the Appendix to The De Moneta of Nicholas Oresme) are given in the tables of mints and moneyers.

Interestingly, two of the four moneyers at Wilton share the same first name, William, but coins struck by the two men appear to bear no marks of differentiation. This not only precludes our separation of the issues of the two men, but, more significantly, raises the question of how the authorities at the time would have brought the right man to justice in the event of malpractice. The same problem arises with three Williams and at least three Roberts at Canterbury, although it is possible that these men were not working at the same time.

The status of moneyers at the time of the long cross coinage is another issue that requires comment. The title tends to conjure up an image of a workman wearing a leather apron and wielding a hammer. In fact, this perception is far from the truth. Moneyers of this period were men of significantly higher social status, and far removed from the actual production activities in the mint workshop. The records inform us, for example, that William de Gloucestre, who was granted dies in both London and Canterbury, was the king’s goldsmith, and Thomas de Weseham, another London moneyer, was the king’s surgeon.

The illustrations that follow show a typical coin reverse for each of the twenty mints, permanent and temporary, that participated in the long cross coinage. Alongside each illustration are brief details of the classes of coins struck by the mint, the most common forms of mint signature, the names of the moneyers as they appear on the coins, and a transcription of the legend with ligated letters indicated by underlining. The illustrations are followed by a link to a table, which gives the full names of the moneyers, as well as the form used on the coins, and the classes and sub-classes of coin that are known for each of them.

Bristol

Bristol was one of the provincial mints re-opened during the early years of the long cross coinage, when the maximum effort was required to convert the circulating short cross coins into the new long cross type. It probably commenced operation at the beginning of 1249 and struck coins of classes 3ab through to 3c. The mint signature on the coins is usually BRVS, BRVST or BRVSTOV. The five moneyers’ names recorded for Bristol are Elis, Henry, Iacob, Roger and Walter.

The inscription on the present coin is IAC/OB O/N BR/VST

Bury St Edmunds

Bury was one of the permanent mints in operation at the end of the short cross coinage, and began striking long cross coins shortly after the recoinage commenced in November 1247. It struck coins of class 1b, on which the moneyer isn’t named, and all subsequent classes through to 7, except 4a, 4b and 5e. The mint signature on the coins is variously AED (1b only), BERI, SE, S’ED, S’EDM, S’EDMVND, SENTED or SEINTED. The five moneyers’ names recorded for Bury are Ioce, Ion (sometimes Latinised as Ioh’s, i.e Iohannes), Randvlf, Renavd and Stephane.

The inscription on the present coin is ION/ ON S’/EDM/VND

Canterbury

Canterbury was one of the permanent mints in operation at the end of the short cross coinage, and began striking long cross coins shortly after the recoinage commenced in November 1247. It struck coins of class 1b, on which the moneyer isn’t named, and all subsequent classes through to 5h, except 4a and 4b. The mint signature on the coins is variously C, CA, CAN, CANT, CANTE, CANTER, KAN, KANI or KANT. The ten moneyers’ names recorded for Canterbury are Alein, Ambroci, Gilbert, Ion (sometimes Latinised as Ioh’s, i.e Iohannes), Nicole, Ricard, Robert, Roger, Walter and Willem.

The inscription on the present coin is NIC/OLE /ON C/ANT

Carlisle

Carlisle was one of the provincial mints re-opened during the early years of the long cross coinage, when the maximum effort was required to convert the circulating short cross coins into the new long cross type. It probably commenced operation at the beginning of 1249 and struck coins of classes 3ab through to 3bc (or possibly 3c). The mint signature on the coins is usually CARL or CARLEL. The four moneyers’ names recorded for Carlisle are Adam, Ion, Robert and Willem.

The inscription on the present coin is ION /ON /CAR/LEL

Durham

Durham, although formerly one of the country’s ‘permanent’ mints, had apparently fallen dormant about 1230 and did not participate in the early and most productive period of the long cross coinage. In fact, the mint didn’t resume striking until 1253, and even then its output was relatively small. Coins of 5a, 5b, 5c, 5g, 6 and 7 are known. The mint signature on the coins is usually DVR or DVRH. The four moneyers’ names recorded for Durham are Ricard, Roberd, Roger and Willem.

The inscription on the present coin is RIC/ARD /ON D/VRH

Exeter

Exeter was one of the provincial mints re-opened during the early years of the long cross coinage, when the maximum effort was required to convert the circulating short cross coins into the new long cross type. It probably commenced operation in the second quarter of 1248 and struck coins of classes 2a (known from a single coin) through to 3c, except 3bc. The mint signature on the coins is variously ECCE, ECE, ECCETR or ECCETRE. The four moneyers’ names recorded for Exeter are Ion, Philip, Robert and Walter.

 

The inscription on the present coin is WAL/TER /ON E/CCE

Gloucester

Gloucester was one of the provincial mints re-opened during the early years of the long cross coinage, when the maximum effort was required to convert the circulating short cross coins into the new long cross type. It probably commenced operation in mid 1248 and struck coins of classes 2b through to 3c, except 3bc. The mint signature on the coins is usually GLOV, GLOVE or GLOVCE. The four moneyers’ names recorded for Gloucester are Ion, Lvcas, Ricard and Roger.

The inscription on the present coin is LVC/AS O/N G/LOV

Hereford

Hereford was one of the provincial mints re-opened during the early years of the long cross coinage, when the maximum effort was required to convert the circulating short cross coins into the new long cross type. It probably commenced operation at the beginning of 1249 and struck coins of classes 3ab through to 3c, except 3bc. The mint signature on the coins is usually HERE or HEREF. The four moneyers’ names recorded for Hereford are Henri, Ricard, Roger and Walter.

The inscription on the present coin is HEN/RI O/N HE/REF

Ilchester

Ilchester was one of the provincial mints re-opened during the early years of the long cross coinage, when the maximum effort was required to convert the circulating short cross coins into the new long cross type. It probably commenced operation at the beginning of 1249 and struck coins of classes 3ab through to 3c. The mint signature on the coins is usually IVE, IVEL or IVELCE. The four moneyers’ names recorded for Ilchester are Hvge, Iervais, Randvlf and Stephen.

The inscription on the present coin is HVG/E ON /IVE/LCE

Lincoln

Lincoln was one of the provincial mints re-opened during the early years of the long cross coinage, when the maximum effort was required to convert the circulating short cross coins into the new long cross type. It probably commenced operation in the second quarter of 1248 and struck coins of classes 2a through to 3c, except 2b. The mint signature on the coins is usually LINC or LINCOLN. The four moneyers’ names recorded for Lincoln are Ion, Ricard, Walter and Willem.

The inscription on the present coin is WAL/TER /ON L/INC

London

London was the country’s principal mint, and the only one where coins of sub-class 1a, which give no indication of either mint or moneyer, were struck. Every subsequent class and sub-class of the entire long cross coinage was also struck. The mint signature on the coins is variously LON, LVN, LVND, LVNDE or LVNDEN. London had eleven moneyers during the long cross period, namely, Davi, Henri, Iohan (sometimes abbreviated as Ioh’s, i.e Iohannes), Nicole, Phelip, Renavd, Ricard, Robert, Thomas, Walter and Willem.

 

The inscription on the present coin is NIC/OLE /ON L/VND

Newcastle

Newcastle was one of the provincial mints re-opened during the early years of the long cross coinage, when the maximum effort was required to convert the circulating short cross coins into the new long cross type. It probably commenced operation at the beginning of 1249 and struck coins of classes 3ab through to 3c, except 3bc. The mint signature on the coins is variously NEVCA, NEVECA, NEVOC, NEVOCCI, NEWCA, NEWCAS, NEWEC or NEWECAS. The four moneyers’ names recorded for Newcastle are Adam, Henri, Ion and Roger.

The inscription on the present coin is ROG/ER O/N NE/WEC

Northampton

Northampton was one of the provincial mints re-opened during the early years of the long cross coinage, when the maximum effort was required to convert the circulating short cross coins into the new long cross type. It probably commenced operation in the second quarter of 1248 and struck coins of classes 2a through to 3c (class 2b known from a single coin). The mint signature on the coins is usually NORH’ or NORHA. The four moneyers’ names recorded for Northampton are Lvcas, Philip, Tomas and Willem.

 

The inscription on the present coin is PHI/LIP /ON N/ORH’

Norwich

Norwich was one of the provincial mints re-opened during the early years of the long cross coinage, when the maximum effort was required to convert the circulating short cross coins into the new long cross type. It probably commenced operation in the second quarter of 1248 and struck coins of classes 2b through to 3c. The mint signature on the coins is variously NORW, NORWI, NORWIC or NORWIZ. The four moneyers’ names recorded for Norwich are Hvge, Iacob, Ion and Willem.

The inscription on the present coin is WIL/LEM /ON N/ORW

Oxford

Oxford was one of the provincial mints re-opened during the early years of the long cross coinage, when the maximum effort was required to convert the circulating short cross coins into the new long cross type. It probably commenced operation in mid 1248 and struck coins of classes 2b through to 3c. The mint signature on the coins is usually OXON, OXONE or OXONFO. The four moneyers’ names recorded for Oxford are Adam, Gefrei, Henri and Willem.

The inscription on the present coin is WIL/LEM /ON O/XON

Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury was one of the provincial mints re-opened during the early years of the long cross coinage, when the maximum effort was required to convert the circulating short cross coins into the new long cross type. It probably commenced operation at the beginning of 1249 and struck coins of classes 3ab and 3b. The mint signature on the coins is variously SRO, SROS, SROSE or SROSEB . The four moneyers’ names recorded for Shrewsbury are Lorens, Nicole, Peris and Ricard.

The inscription on the present coin is RIC/ARD /ON S/ROS

Wallingford

Wallingford was one of the provincial mints re-opened during the early years of the long cross coinage, when the maximum effort was required to convert the circulating short cross coins into the new long cross type. It probably commenced operation at the beginning of 1249 and struck coins of classes 3ab and 3b. The mint signature on the coins is usually W, WAL or WALI. The four moneyers’ names recorded for Wallingford are Alisandre, Clement, Ricard and Robert.

The inscription on the present coin is ALI/SAN/DRE /ON W

 

By a fortuitous coincidence, the single letter mint signature W, followed by the first three letters of Alisandre’s name, also create the signature WALI.

Wilton

Wilton was one of the provincial mints re-opened during the early years of the long cross coinage, when the maximum effort was required to convert the circulating short cross coins into the new long cross type. It probably commenced operation at the beginning of 1249 and struck coins of classes 3ab through to 3c. The mint signature on the coins is usually WILT or WILTON. The three moneyers’ names recorded for Wilton are Hvge, Ion and Willem (Two of Wilton’s moneyers were named Willem).

 

The inscription on the present coin is WIL/LEM /ON W/ILT

Winchester

Winchester was one of the provincial mints re-opened during the early years of the long cross coinage, when the maximum effort was required to convert the circulating short cross coins into the new long cross type. It probably commenced operation in the second quarter of 1248 and struck coins of classes 2a through to 3c, except 2b. The mint signature on the coins is usually WINC or WINCHE. The four moneyers’ names recorded for Winchester are Hvge, Iordan, Nicole and Willem.

The inscription on the present coin is HVG/E ON / WIN/CHE

York

York had two mints during the recoinage period, one for the king and one for the archbishop. The royal mint probably commenced operation in mid 1248 and struck coins of classes 2b through to 3bc. The archbishop’s mint opened slightly later in the year and struck coins of classes 3a to 3c. The mint signature on the coins is variously EV, EVER, EVERW, EVERWI or EVERWIC. The four moneyers recorded for the king's mint are Alain, Ieremie, Ion and Rener. The archbishop's moneyer was Tomas.

The inscription on the present coin is TOM/AS O/N E/VER