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Coin, Edward I (1272 to 1307), Ireland

  • Medieval coin
  • Medieval coin

The value of English medieval coins was guaranteed by the King. He controlled what coins could be made and what they were made of. This power was shown by the King's head on one side. Making coins is called minting. Why is it important for everyone that the value of their money is the same?

The metal in today’s coins is worth next to nothing but these Medieval coins were made of a set amount of silver. This meant that people would trim bits of the edge and the coins would weigh too little. Edward I said that 243 pennies should be struck from a pound of silver. (approx 450g). As weights could vary around the country, the pound used was kept at the Tower of London.

The kings head in this period was not a portrait and many kings continued to mint coins using a very similar, stylized, image. When a reign came to an end, the name on the coins often went unchanged for a few years. From Edward I onwards the design changed little for 200 years.

The places where coins were minted showed their status. Those mints that were in places that had city status called themselves civitas (such as London - civitas London), while those that were towns called themselves villa (such as Berwick on Tweed - villa Berewici). 

In 1172, English Kings aquired the title 'Dominus Hibernie' or Lord of Ireland. The letters HYB on the front of the coin means Hibernie, which is the latin word for Ireland.

Key facts: 
  • Medieval coins were made from a set amount of silver, guaranteed by the King
  • Edward ruled that 243 pennies would be made from one pound (lb) of silver metal (approx 450g)
  • People would sometimes trim pieces from the edges of coins, or cut them into halves or quarters to make them worth less
  • The coins would have the name of the place they were minted on the back. This coin was minted in Dublin.

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