Nearly every indenture in Charter Six deals with money. Coinage in the time of King Charles I is complex owing to inflation, new coin production techniques (milling of coins), and the new coins that were introduced only during the Civil War. While it is impossible to offer modern equivalents of Stuart money, owing to differences in the worth of various object and what money could buy, it is possible to get an idea of the relative value of money with some background on Early Stuart Numismatics.
Troy System of Weights
The Troy System of weights is a system of measurement used for precious metals and stones. Pre-decimalized English money was measured by the Troy (named for the French market town of Troyes) system of weights. In the Troy system 480 grains =1 oz and 12 oz= 1 pound. Modern Americans, like myself, use the avoirdupois system of measurement wherein 437 1/2 grains= 1 oz and 16 oz = 1 pound.
Numismatics in Paleography
Much is owed to Latin for the way English currency was represented in writing. One penny is written “1d”, the d referred to denarius, the Latin word for “silver coin”. One shilling is written “1s”, and you may be forgiven for thinking the s stoof for “shilling”, however, it actually stands for solidus. For paleographic purposes, one shilling would often be written as “1/-“, the “/” may look like a forward slash, but it actually represents the long-S. One pound is represented either by the word “pound” written out or with a superscript “l” or “ll” with a dash through it. The “l” stood for libra, representing weights and scales. For example, 100 poundes or 100ll
Shillings and Pence
A penny was 1/240 of a pound. Pennies (pence) were subdivided into:
- Half-pennies (haypenny). Two halfpennies = one penny.
- Farthings: one quarter of a penny. Four farthings = one penny.
- Pence is plural for penny.
A shilling is 1/20 of a pound or 12 pennies.
There were various denominations of coinage during the early Stuart era. These included Angels, Crowns, and other coins.
- Angels = 23k and 3 1/2 grains (by weight) worth 33-50 shillings or 1 1/2- 2 pounds, those it’s worth changes with inflation.
- Quarter Angels
- Crown= five-shilling coin (5s) (made in both gold and silver during Stuart times)
- Half-Crown= 2.5 shillings (2s 6d)
- Struck for King Charles I, worth 20-23 shillings (about 1 pound and 3d).
- Worth 60 shillings (three pounds) and the largest denomination of struck coin in England. It was only struck during the English Civil War.
Of possible interest:
Beier, A.L., “The Problem of the Poor in Tudor and Early Stuart England.” Google. Routledge, Sep 2, 2003.
Outwaithe, R.B. “Inflation in Tudor and early Stuart England.” Economic History Society. Macmillan, 1969.
- Carlomorino. Henry VIII Angel 2. N.d. Coins of England. Wikipedia. Web. 16 July 2014.
- Spink. Half Angel Coin. N.d. Coins of the UK, London. Coins of the UK. Web. 16 July 2014.
- Elsen, Jean. Half crown, Tower Mint under the King Mintmark: triangle in circle, 1641-3. N.d. Coins of the UK, London.Coins of the UK. Web. 16 July 2014.
- Spink. Coin – Quarter-Angel, Henry VIII, England, 1544-1547. N.d. Coins, London.Museum Victoria. Web. 16 July 2014.
- Silver Crown of Charles I (1634-1641). Coins of England, Charles I. Treasure Realm. Web 16 July 2014.
- Charles I ‘Harp 1632-33’ Tower Mint Shilling. House Of Stuart Coins For Sale. Time-Lines. Web. 16 July 2014.
- Clemchambers. Triple Unite 1642. Coins of England. Wikipedia. Web. 16 July 2014.
- Schneider, H. “Part IV, The Angels.”The Tower gold of Charles I. 303-330. PDF file.
- Elsen, Jean. Penny, Tower Mint under the King, 1625 – 1642
Shield reverse, mintmark plume N.d. Coins of the UK, London.Coins of the UK. Web. 19 July 2014.