Edward IV issues Irish coins of a lower standard (1467)


Introduction:

Realising that having an Irish currency equal to English standard weights resulted in a massive drain of silver out of Ireland and, consequently, reducing the amount of coinage in circulation + causing a recession, Edward IV moved towards remedying this by announcing a new (lower intrinsic value) coinage for Ireland in 1467: double-groats (eight pence), groats, half-groats (twopence), halfpennies and farthings.

Five new coins were ordered to be produced: firstly,

a piece of silver coined called a double, having the print of a crown on one side, with this writing, “Edwardus Dei gratia Dominus Hibernie,’ and on the other part a sun with a rose, with this inscription about it, ‘Civitas Dublinie,’ which shall pass in Ireland for eight deniers, and ten such pieces shall make an ounce according to the rightful standard of the Tower of London” [double-groat, or 8 pence]

Edward IV 1467 Irish double groat, sun & roses coinage, Dublin mint

Edward IV 1467 Irish ‘double’ groat, sun & roses coinage, Dublin mint

Secondly, due to the shortage of silver in Ireland, he announced the production of four other coins:

a piece made of two deniers, or half the gross of the proportions aforesaid” [groat]

a piece be made called the denier, containing the halt of the piece of two deniers” [half-groat]

Half-deniers and farthings to be made according to the same proportions, mutatis mutandis, with the like provisions : and that the print of the halfdenier [halfpenny] and farthing be made according to the print of the denier, with a scripture as long as the master and workmen can make them

The coins were to be produced at the mints of Dublin, Carlingford, Drogheda, Galway, Limerick, Trim and Waterford.

  • Thus Sir John Tiptoft (or, John, Earl of Worcester) completely overhauled the Irish coinage
    • First, he made the use of all previous coin issued illegal
      • This required everyone to turn in their old coins for re-minting into new coin
      • This directly caused the then struggling Anglo-Norman economy to grind to a complete halt
      • Since much of the old coinage was of an acceptable standard, it was immediately exported
        • Exchanging it at Tiptoft’s rates would result in effectively losing 40% of the silver weight to the mint

Edward IV: Act of 1467 (Irish Coinage)

At a meeting of his Parliament held in Dublin, before John Earl of Worcester, deputy to George Duke of Clarence, Lord Lieutenant, it was enacted as follows :-

‘Whereas in a parliament held before Thomas Earl of Desmond, in the fifth year of the present king, it was enacted, that the noble of due weight should be of the value of ten shillings, the demy-noble of five shillings, and the quadrant of gold of two shillings and six pence, and that for laccage in weight of such pieces of gold, they should be refused; it is now enacted, that the laccage in weight in such pieces of gold shall not be a cause for refusing them, but the value of such laccage shall be paid in current silver after the rate hereafter rehearsed Cap. 8. As Ireland is destitute of silver, and the silver there made of late is daily carried away into divers countries, and so the people of this land continually take clipped money, contrary to the statute, it is enacted, that there be a piece of silver coined called a double, having the print of a crown on one side, with this writing, “Edwardus Dei gratia Dominus Hibernie,’ and on the other part a sun with a rose, with this inscription about it, ‘Civitas Dublinie,’ which shall pass in Ireland for eight deniers, and ten such pieces shall make an ounce according to the rightful standard of the Tower of London, and twelve such ounces shall make the pound according to the standard aforesaid, and there shall be in every pound six score such pieces of the weight of the said country. Also there shall be another piece of silver called a gross, having the print and scripture aforesaid, which shall pass in Ireland for four deniers; and twenty such pieces shall go to an ounce of the said country, and two hundred and forty such pieces shall make the pound of the rightful standard aforesaid: of which coins every merchant shall have for an ounce sterling of silver six shillings, and the king shall have the residue, paying the master and workmen for their labour. And as the said silver money cannot be continually made of equal standard, because sometimes, in default of the master or workmen, they may be too great or too little in weight or allay, or in one or in the other, in weight of three deniers in every twenty shillings, the which weight of three deniers shall be called remedy for the said master. Also that there be a piece made of two deniers, or half the gross of the proportions aforesaid; of which forty such pieces shall go to the ounce besides the allay. Also that a piece be made called the denier, containing the halt of the piece of two deniers, eighty of which shall go to the ounce besides the allay. Half-deniers and farthings to be made according to the same proportions, mutatis mutandis, with the like provisions : and that the print of the halfdenier and farthing be made according to the print of the denier, with a scripture as long as the master and workmen can make them. That the said moneys and coins be made in the castles of Dublin and Trym, the cities of Waterford and Limerick, and the towns of Drogheda, Galway and Carlingford; and that no body shall after Easter next receive or pay any manner of silver coyne or money, but the coin or money aforesaid, and that all other silver coins or money in Ireland be from the feast of Easter next damned and annulled; and if any person or persons receives or pays otherwise, that such payment shall be adjudged felony in the payer as in the receiver.


Who was John, Earl of Worcester?

John Tiptoft, 1st Earl of Worcester KG (1427–1470) was an English nobleman and scholar, Lord High Treasurer, Lord High Constable and Deputy Governor of Ireland.

  • He was known as the Butcher of England

He enjoyed a brilliant early career. After being created Earl of Worcester on 16 July 1449, he was employed in a number of official posts, first as Lord High Treasurer (1452–1454) and then as Lord Deputy of Ireland (1456–1457).

  • He then departed on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and returned by way of Italy, where he stayed for two years, studying in Padua. There he gained a considerable reputation as a scholar of Latin.

He returned to England in 1461 and was received with favour by Edward IV, receiving the Order of the Garter and being appointed to a number of posts, including in 1461, Constable of the Tower of London for life and in 1463, Lord Steward of the Household.

  • Most notably, as Lord High Constable (1462), he presided over trials which resulted in the attainders and executions of Lancastrians, an office which he carried out with exceptional cruelty, having them beheaded, quartered, and impaled.
  • In 1464 he was appointed Chancellor of Ireland for life
  • In 1467 he again became Lord Deputy of Ireland
    • Most notably, he brought about the execution of Thomas FitzGerald, 7th Earl of Desmond
    • Some accounts also claim that Tiptoft murdered two of Desmond’s young sons, whilst attending school in Drogheda
    • Although the Desmond’s were avid supporters of Edward IV and the Yorkist cause, a rumour had been circulated that Desmond was planning to claim the kingship of Ireland for himself and set up an independent realm separate from England.
      • After Desmond’s execution, the Munster Geraldines invaded the Pale.
      • Not wishing to see a similar uprising in Leinster, Edward IV revoked the attainder against both Kildare and the recently deceased Desmond (and his heirs)
      • Although Desmond’s heir was allowed to succeed to his father’s lands and title, relations between the Crown and the Desmonds were strained for decades … and it probably goes some way towards explaining why the Earl of Kildare was so quick (and ill-advised) to crown Lambert Simnal in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin as “King Edward VI” on 24th May 1487
      • The Fitzgerald’s of Desmond were the next to act when Maurice FitzGerald, 9th Earl of Desmond welcomed Perkin Warbeck as the next Yorkist pretender and laid siege to Waterford (then in the hands of their old ‘Lancastrian’ rivals, Ormond).
        • Meeting resistance there, Warbeck fled to Scotland
        • Henry pardoned Warbeck’s Irish supporters, remarking drily “I suppose they will crown an ape next

Upon the Readeption of Henry VI in 1470, Tiptoft was unable to escape with Edward IV and his supporters

  • He was captured by the Lancastrians and beheaded at the Tower of London, attainted and his title forfeited.
  • His last act was to ask the executioner to chop off his head “with three blows, for the sake of the Trinity
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