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PONTEFRACT SHILLING
 CHARLES II 1648
CIVIL WAR

OBS
Obsidinal Money
[money of necessity]

  

Pontefract Shiliing
(June 1648-March. 1649)
Charles II 1648 octagonal

large crown with a "furred band" over
HANC : DEVS : DEDIT 1648
CAROLs : II : D : G : MAG : B : F : ET : H : REX

rev., castle gateway, PC at sides of central tower
OBS to left, protruding cannon on the right
POST : MORTEM : PATRIS : PRO : FILIO

There are few early collections that were created contemporary to the time coins were in circulation nearly 400 years ago in the UK, one such collection was the “Bridgewater House Collection”. 

 

Auctioned at Sotheby’s in July 1972, it was unique, formed by the Earls of Bridgewater and previously Bridgewater House. It was a unique sale, a collection that was cared for by the British Museum until 1900 and was never exhibited since its inception. A collection started John the second Earl (1622-1686)

 

Many of today’s cabinets contain a few wonderful pieces from this sale. It is difficult to measure the importance of collection that nearly stayed untouched for such a period, through wars and a dozen generations in one family.

 

The collection sold for 131,446 gbp what in my estimation would in 2009 bring a sale vale of +/- 5'000'000 gbp. This gives an idea of the importance the Numismatic faternity saw in the collection in 1972.


Background


During this period Pontefract Castle was known as Pomfret. The castle was seized on June 2, 1648 on behalf of the King, Charles I by a colonel a John Morris, he was srving under Sir Marmaduke Langdale. What is interesting is that the castle was seized by a small group dressed as peasants overcame the local garrison the most important point to the north. Pontefract resisted all attacks and Cromwell only gained control two months after the execution of Charles I. Another point of interest is that it was here the Cromwell’s men were first known as “Ironsides” a name that stays with them until this day.
The siege coins were in two groups those issued during the reighn of Charles I and those after his exection and in the name of Charles II his son.  



Written in a journal [details not known]

February 2-9, 1648-9

' one of which had a small parcel of silver in his pocket ; somwhat square. On the side therefof was stamped a castle woth P O for Pomfret, and on the other side was the crown with C R on each side of it. These pieces were made of plate,which they get out of the country, and passing amongst them for coyn '

Obsidinal Money
[money of necessity]


Issued by towns loyal to the king

One of the main tasks of an army in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was breaking a siege, and military technology greatly reduced the ability of garrisons in cities to resist them. At times 'money of necessity' was issued among the besieged. This may have been to reassure mercenaries, or allow simply to allow everyday transactions.

In 1645-6, during the English Civil Wars, three royalist fortresses under siege produced coinage. When Carlisle was surrounded by a Scottish army, coinage worth £323 was produced. A 17-year-old resident, Leslie Tullie, recorded in his diary that 'an order was published to every citizen to bring in their plate [i.e. silverware] to be coyned, which they did chearfully'. Tullie's mother gave five spoons which weighed 6¼ oz of silver. Overall, 1,162 oz of silver was gathered on that occasion, producing £280 of coin.

During the year-long siege of Scarborough Castle, the commander Sir Hugh Chomley handed out the siege money himself, at a rate of sixpence a day, to encourage the morale of those who were repairing the walls.

The Newark coinage was produced during its third siege. It is of a very good quality, with weights of the correct official standards.

The Pontefract siege occurred during the so-called 'Second Civil War', a group of royalist rebellions that broke out in 1648. The later issues of the coin, struck in 1649 between the execution of Charles I (30 January), and the surrender of the castle (22 March), were changed to read 'for the son [Charles II], after the father's death'.

 

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