Posts Tagged ‘coin’

A penny from the rec

July 16, 2015

Today we look at a penny which is getting on for 200 years old. It was found by metal detectorist Norman on the old recreation ground in Market Lavington.

Reverse of 1823 penny found on the old Recreation Ground in Market Lavington

Reverse of 1823 penny found on the old Recreation Ground in Market Lavington

As we can see this is an 1823 penny and in remarkably good order.

King George III was on the throne at the time

King George III was on the throne at the time

The king at that time was George III. He had a long reign of almost 60 years but by the time this coin was minted he was old and suffering from the mental illness that made people deem him insane. His son had been the effective monarch for years as the prince Regent.

Now the finding of an 1823 coin doesn’t mean the coin was lost in 1823. Our curator recalls that in his 1950s childhood pennies were still in circulation with Queen Victoria’s old head on them. They dated from the 1890s so they were more than 50 years old. But he also recalls that these old pennies were very worn, with writing and images almost worn away. With the condition of this coin, it suggests it wasn’t all that old when it was lost. As this is one amongst quite a goodly collection of coins from before Victoria’s reign it does suggest that the old rec was in use for more than just agriculture at least back into the mid-19th century.

For those who like these things, somebody who earned that penny back in 1823 would today earn more than £5 for the same work. It wasn’t lost lightly.



A fake shilling

October 14, 2014

Dishonesty and forgery is nothing new. The haul of finds recently given to us by Metal detectorist Norman includes a fake shilling in the style of a George III coin.

Heads or obverse side of a fake 1819 shilling found in Market Lavington

Heads or obverse side of a fake 1819 shilling found in Market Lavington

This coin is dated 1819 and appears very much like the real thing.

The reverse of the same coin

The reverse of the same coin

However, we understand this coin is a forgery and clearly it is made of base metal and not silver. No doubt it would have had a coating to make it appear silver but that has gone.

We imagine it was a professional criminal who made this coin and its appearance in Market Lavington was, no doubt, just one of those things. Sadly – and it really was sad – somebody who probably never knew it was a forgery lost it. Of course, we do not know the year in which it was lost for coins have quite a long life – but if we imagine that the shilling was somebody’s income in 1820, then it is would be equivalent to an income of over £50 now.

But, as a forgery, it was actually worth nothing. But we find this interesting at the museum because it reminds us of the fact that crooks were about a couple of hundred years ago.

A Penny for your Thoughts

July 26, 2014

It isn’t only metal detectorists who turn up old coins. So, too, do gardeners and here we have such a find. It isn’t Roman nor even medieval, but it is more than 100 years old. It’s a good old penny coin.

Old penny found at Beech House in Market Lavington

Old penny found at Beech House in Market Lavington

It features the head of King George V who reigned in the United Kingdom from 1910 to 1936. This coin dates from the early years of his time as King as we can see on the reverse side.

The coin's reverse side.

The coin’s reverse side.

It is dated for 1913.

This penny was found in the garden of Beech House on White Street in Market Lavington in 2014.

If the coin had been lost when it was new, then it would have been a member of the Viner Johnson family who lost it. But coins like this had a life of fifty years or more. From the 1930s, Beech House was the home of James Welch and family and in the 1960s Tom and Peggy Gye moved in. The coin could have been lost by any of them or of course by any house visitor.

Incidentally to purchase what that penny bought in 1913, you’d need about 36p today. And remember the old pennies needed 240 to make a pound which means about 90 fold inflation over the 101 years. But we are all much better off now and in income terms that penny is now about £1.37.

A Charles II Farthing

December 8, 2012

Yesterday we brought you a play which seemed to have a connection with Nell Gwynne. Today we bring you what might be called her leading man – King Charles the Second – the Merry Monarch.

A farthing was dug up in a vegetable garden close to Clyffe Hall on The Spring in Market Lavington. We’ll not pretend it is in good order. It is very worn and it is hard to make out much on it. But we have decided it dates from the reign of Charles II and bears his image.

Reverse or tails side of a Charles II farthing found in a vegetable plot at The Spring, Market Lavington

There’s the reverse which carries an image of Britannia and the last two digits of the date – 78.

The obverse or head side is, perhaps, more worn.

The head side (obverse) is marked with enough to make out Carolus.

But there’s enough there to identify it – with a little help from our internet friends.

A Charles II farthing Courtesy of CNG

So, some poor soul lost his farthing more than 300 years ago. It’s a bit like us losing a ten pound note. The loser would not have been pleased.

Bladud Founded Bath

June 18, 2012

About a dozen years ago, a small metal token was found at number 9, High Street, Market Lavington. This token, value one farthing, was given to Market Lavington Museum. It seems time it saw the light of day, at least in photographic form. The following information comes from the web site – although the pictures of the near perfect and well-cleaned example shown there have been replaced by our farthing at the museum.

Heath’s Bath (Somerset) copper Conder farthing token dated 1794.

Obverse: Crowned and bearded bust to left with bow and quiver of arrows over shoulder with legend: “BLADUD FOUNDED BATH”.

Obverse of token found at 9, High Street, Market Lavington showing King Bladud who founded Bath according to legend.

Reverse: The aforementioned crowned Bladud holding his bow and shield, driving two pigs or hogs with legend: “THROUGH HIS SWINE 1794”.

Reverse of token which shows Bladud as a swineherd

Plain edge.

This was issued by F. Heath who was an ironmonger, brazier and cutler with a business in Bath. Bladud was the eighth King of the Britons who is thought to have founded the baths in 863 B.C.

Legend had it that Bladud contracted leprosy and was locked away. He escaped and took a job as a swineherd. His pigs contracted leprosy as well. His sick pigs wallowed in mud and were cured. Seeing this, Bladud also rolled in the mud and he, too, was cured. He went on to be the 8th King of the Britons. In gratitude he founded a city where the pigs had been cured – the city now known as Bath. Bladud dedicated his city to the Celtic Goddess, Sul. 900 years later, the Romans called the place Aquae Sulis.

According to legend, one of the children of Bladud was King Lear – made famous by the Shakespeare play.

Francis Heath, the issuer of these and other coins, has not been clearly traced. He carried on his ironmongery, cutlery and brazier business, just previous to 1800, at number 2, Bath Street.

How this token came to be in High Street, Market Lavington we don’t know.

A Penny for your Thoughts

April 17, 2012

The other day, Rog, our curator was out walking in Market Lavington, when he noticed another Roger out with his metal detector. As he watched, our Rog saw the detectorist find something in a field on the sands, awaiting cultivation. Out came the trowel and a hand went down to pick up an item, which was looked at, and put away in the finds bag.

Only then did Roger the detectorist see Rog the curator. They are old friends and soon they were chatting. The find was a penny coin. Soon, it belonged to Market Lavington Museum.

King George V penny, found in a field on The Sands, Market Lavington

This is the penny in ‘as found’ condition. We can see it dates from the reign of King George V – 1910 – 1936. The coin has a deep gouge, perhaps made by an agricultural implement at some time during the last 75 years.

Tails side of this 1936 penny

The tails side gives the year as 1936. George V died on January 20th of that year so one imagines not too many of these coins exist although enough for valuation web sites to describe such a coin – even in good condition, as pretty well worthless.

As a museum, we ponder on whether we should keep items like this. Everything we have must have a local connection, and this surely does, being found, buried in the ground, in the parish. Our pre-decimal pennies, like this, went out of use in 1971 so we’d assume it has been in the ground since then. To youngsters, this is an object from antiquity.

We find museum visitors are very keen on rarities, but most of all, older visitors love to see things they remember. Youngsters will be amazed that a coin of this size – diameter 32 millimetres, was worth less than half a penny in decimal coinage. So we think these ordinary items serve a real purpose.

Finally let us just add that Roger the detectorist had absolute permission to work the fields he was in from the farmer. Like other responsible metal detector users, Roger does a grand job in finding and sharing. Keep up the good work.

A half penny

February 10, 2012

Today we feature another of the coins found by the Yeovil Metal Detecting Club back in September. This one, literally, is a half penny.

Silver half penny found on the slopes of Lavington Hill and now in Market Lavington Museum

The coin is made of silver and has markings on both sides to allow the experts to have a stab at identifying its origins.

The other side of the Lavington Hill half penny

The best guess is that this little piece of silver dates from between 1249 and 1286. The surprising thing is that this is a Scottish King from the time when Alexander III ruled in that land.

We wonder how it came to be in the south of England – in Market Lavington but there, we assume, it lay hidden for more than 750 years before being found by modern technology. It now has a home in Market Lavington Museum.

Once again we’d like to thank the detectorists of the Yeovil Club for donating this and other artefacts to us.

Sixpence from Easterton

September 19, 2011

A museum curator is always on the alert. Whilst eating lunch the other day, our curator became aware of cars gathering on the slopes of the hill across the village.

Yeovil Metal detecting club gather in Market Lavington

It became clear that a metal detecting club were paying a visit. At Market Lavington Museum, we have only ever had good dealings with detectorists – people who enjoy finding and unearthing the history beneath our feet. Our curator went to chat with this group who came from the Yeovil Metal Detecting Club (click here for their website) and who had permission to detect from the land owner.

Earlier in the day, the group had been working a field in Easterton, and soon our curator was receiving some of the finds for the museum. I could emphasise that there was nothing of much monetary value, but money value is no indication of interest.

Let’s have a look at the old sixpence coin they found – what we used to call a tanner.

Heads or obverse of a sixpence found in Easterton

The heads side shows the image of Queen Victoria – queen from 1837 to 1901. The diameter is about 2 centimetres.

tails or reverse side of the Easterton sixpence

On the tails side we have the value of six pence and the date of issue – 1852. The lack of wear indicates that this coin was probably lost not that long after it was minted. Someone would have been annoyed to lose it.

There are several ways of working out relative values of money – then and now. Typically what that six pence would have bought in 1852 would cost about £2.25 now. But if you consider it as a proportion of earnings then those six old pence (2.5p) was equivalent to about £26 – for every 2.5p you might have earned in 1852, you now get about £26. So losing that little coin would have felt like losing £26.

We’d like to thank the detectorists of the Yeovil club for their generosity.

A find in Saxon Close

August 19, 2010

Plenty of Saxon finds were uncovered when building work was going on in the Grove Farm area some 20 or so years ago. Rest assured, the building of the new estate of houses was stopped and a proper archaeological excavation was carried out. Later, one of the closes in the new street system was called Saxon Close to mark the Saxon cemetery found beneath it.

But new residents can still turn over items of interest and this coin, which may be a two pence (2d) coin was found by someone digging in the garden of  number 2, Saxon Close.

Worn reverse side of a coin at market Lavington Museum

The reverse, with its image of Britannia is fairly well worn but the obverse (head side) of the coin has been well preserved.

Obverse of George III coin at Market Lavington Museum

This is a George the Third coin and dates from 1807. It had probably been lost for almost 200 years before it came to Market Lavington Museum in the year 2000.

This coin and others are now on display in one of the new cabinets.

Don’t forget to get your tickets for ‘Museum Miscellany’, which takes place on Saturday September 18th at 7.30pm in Market Lavington Community Hall. Enjoy sights and sounds of Lavington as well as having a chance to sample some local tastes.

A Potter in the Past

July 12, 2010

Yesterday, Rog, our curator, assisted by Sue, our archivist, led a very successful history walk in the village. Some 36 visitors came on the walk, which started at the museum where the walkers lined up for a photo.

July 11th 2010 at Market Lavington Museum

One of the aims of this photo was to do a ‘then and now’ comparison with the building of 100 years ago. We’ve included this 1910 photo before in this blog but make no excuse for putting it alongside the 2010 version.

Market Lavington Museum building in 2010 when it was the home of the Burbidge family. Flo and Dorrie Burbidge are the two girls by the door.

The similarities are striking. The building looks little altered and the same fence at the front has the same gate, which seems to open to the same angle. There are actually many differences in the building but the surroundings and the people have changed more.

From the museum, we toured some of the graves in the churchyard, learning a little of those people who might have been considered Lavington’s movers and shakers in their day – with an emphasis on those deemed important at the museum.

From the churchyard, the walk moved into the village, starting by remembering the Grove Farm house, which used to occupy a site close to where the new Community Hall now stands.

The length of the village was walked, mostly on back routes, through to Fiddington where the group heard tales from the old asylum which stood where the 1970s built houses of Fiddington Clay can now be found.

The return was along the main road – The High Street – where many of the traders who did a huge amount for the village had their premises.

At the old Quaker (later Independent) chapel, there was a surprise in store when Ted, on the walk, presented the museum with some old coins which had been used to mark the soft bricks of the building whilst waiting for school or Sunday School.

1824 penny given to the museum on the 'Potter in the Past' history walk of July 11th 2010

That’s an 1824, George IV penny – a strange choice for wall marking. Maybe it was its large size which appealed.

Having reached the crossroads, the group returned to The Green Dragon for a welcome meal and much needed liquid refreshment. We all send thanks to Steve and Nicky for providing delicious sausage and chips for us.

The next major museum event, celebrating our Silver Jubilee Year is on Saturday September 18th when we’ll be holding our Museum Miscellany in the Community Hall. More details of that event will follow but do make sure you mark the date in your diary – 7.30 pm on Saturday 18th September at The Community Hall for a chance to see, hear, smell and taste the history of our wonderful parish.