James II & his Gunmoney: September 1689 (timeline)


By September 1689, James II’s so-called gunmoney continued to be produced in huge volumes at Capel Street in Dublin. A common misconception is that the coinage with 9r equates to September but it, in fact, refers to November – the 11th month of our modern (Gregorian) calendar but the 9th month of the old Julian calendar.

Ireland, James II Large Shilling Gunmoney, 1689 (December) - the 9th month of the Julian year

Ireland, James II Large Shilling Gunmoney, 1689 (November) – the 9th month of the Julian year


  • Until 1752, Britain and Ireland followed the Julian calendar, which had the year change on Lady Day, March 25.
    • Confusingly, March 24, 1688, was followed by March 25, 1689.
    • When the Gregorian calendar was eventually adopted everything moved forward 12 days and the New Year started on January 1st
      • Thus, until recently the financial year began on April 6,
      • The Orthodox Church still celebrates Christmas on the January 6
      • The Battle of the Boyne is celebrated on the July 12 instead of the July 1)
  • In James II gunmoney terms, “7r” = September
  • And, “8r” or “8BER = October
  • And, “9” or “9r = November
  • And, “10r” = December

Gunmoney Date Variations (September 1689)

The gunmoney of September 1689, like in the months preceding, offers a rich source of study for the numismatic researcher and collector. There are lots of small die variations, which suggests large numbers of coins were produced.

The major variations are now very collectable and are also very affordable when compared to contemporary ‘regal’ issues and, of course, they are so rich in history.

Gunmoney Sixpences (September 1689)

1689 Large size Proof Sixpence, Sepr, with 'r' above 'p' in Sep, James press, pearled bands on crown

1689 Large size Proof Sixpence, Sepr, with ‘r’ above ‘p’ in Sep. This example was produced by the James press (pearled bands on crown)

Gunmoney Shillings (September 1689)

1689 Large size shilling. Sepr, with 'r' above 'p' in Sep, very fine

1689 Large size shilling. Sepr, with ‘r’ above ‘p’ in Sep

1689 Large size shilling. Sepr, with 'r' above and to the right of 'p' in Sep, very fine

1689 Large size shilling. Sepr, with ‘r’ above and to the right of ‘p’ in Sep, very fine

Gunmoney Halfcrowns (September 1689)

Gunmoney, Large Halfcrown, 1689 Sepr + full colon, with 'r' above - between e and p (DF 379; S.6579D)

Gunmoney, Large Halfcrown, 1689 Sepr + full colon, with ‘r’ above – between ‘e’ and ‘p’ of Sep (DF 379; S.6579)

1689 James II gunmoney halfcrown, Sep ('r' above) +full colon (1)

1689 James II gunmoney halfcrown, Sepr + full colon (‘r’ above ‘p’ in Sep). There is also a gap between the ‘e’ and ‘p’ of Sep.

Timeline: September 1689

? September

  • In September 1689, while James II was out of Dublin, Christ Church was taken over and consecrated to Catholic use, apparently on the grounds that it was traditionally the Chapel Royal
    •  James himself later attended Mass there
      • During the Jacobite supremacy in Dublin, many Protestant churches were seized by Catholics and returned to use as their chapels.
      • These included the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham and Dublin Castle.
      • James, ever conscious of Protestant claims on his strict adherence to the rule of law, tried to prevent such seizures, but was often unsuccessful
    • But before it was taken over, there occurred a strange sequence of events aimed at denying Catholics use of the church plate consisting of silver gilt chalices, patens, candlesticks, flagons and alms dishes.
      • The chancellor of Christ Church, Michael Jephson, and his vergers concealed the plate in two chests and hid them in the crypt, beneath the coffin of a Jacobite prelate, Bishop Cartwright of Chester, who had accompanied King James to Ireland but who had died in April 1689

Thus, it is apparent that there were four very separate sectarian agendas were in play during the so-called Jacobite Supremacy in Dublin (and the rest of Ireland). Consequently, they made James II’s return to the English throne impossible, any sort of compromise unlikely and a subsequent Williamite invasion of Ireland inevitable.

  1. James wanted to regain ‘absolute‘ power – following his arrival in Dublin, James promptly convened the Irish Parliament on 7 May 1689. It met in the old Four Courts, once a priory, adjacent to Christ Church Cathedral and once recognised as King,  he prorogued the parliament – they never met again and he ruled alone!
  2. The Irish Catholic lords wanted to regain power and once James had appointed Richard Talbot, Lord Tyrconnell to administer Ireland, Tyrconnell set about appointing Catholic officers in the army and Catholics in the the Irish Civil Service.  This was, in effect a reversal of the penal laws to date.
  3. In order for James II to maintain ‘absolute rule‘ he needed the support of the Catholic Church. During James II’s short reign the Catholic church in Ireland, which had operated clandestinely since the time of Cromwell, came into the open again.
    1. Churches were taken over—by 1690 twenty in the archdiocese of Dublin alone
    2. The Catholic Church also made appointments to deaneries and other positions
    3. Although opposed to the ‘Divine Right of Kings’ the Catholic Church was prepared to overlook this in order to re-establish itself in Ireland
  4. Massive land confiscations had taken place during the Cromwellian period and Irish Catholics wanted their land back. Tyrconnell’s re-modelling of the charters of the corporations enabled Catholics to secure places in town councils and be selected as members of parliament.
    1. The Jacobite parliament, therefore, was overwhelmingly Catholic and Old English in its membership.
    2. This ‘Patriot Parliament’ (as Thomas Davis later described it) proceeded to enact the repeal of the acts of Settlement and Explanation, with the objective of restoring estates to their  pre-1641 owners, both Irish and Old English.
    3. A bill of attainder (targeting Williamite supporters) was also passed

6 September

  • The Jacobite army returns to Ardee and camps there
    • Scouts and patrols report no sight of the enemy force under Schomberg

20 September

  • Williamite forces in Ireland listed as 29,954
    • This includes 6,000 troops from Enniskillen and Londonderry
    • Schomberg’s army now comprised
      • 3 experienced Huguenot infantry battalions
      • 1 Huguenot cavalry battalion
      • 1 Dutch battalion
      • the remainder were either newly raised English regiments or the survivors of James II’s Irish army which had seen little or no active service
        • Through a lack of field craft, inexperience and weak command 5,674 of these men would die at Dundalk Camp between September and November of 1689 – most died from disease (dysentry, typhus or pneumonia) induced by a poor chosen camp and lack of common sense or hygiene

20 September

  • Enniskillen ‘hold-outs’ led by Col. Thomas Lloyd (also known as ‘the Little Cromwell’) defeat Jacobite forces commanded by Col. Charles Ó’Kelly, near Boyle, Co. Roscommon.
    • Col. Charles Ó’Kelly was in command of a force made up of local militia
      • These were irregulars and maybe even rapparees
    • During a surprise attack, Ó’Kelly’s post was overrun
      • After a 10 mile chase, Ó’Kelly escaped, along with his Cavalry
      • Forty of his officers were captured and 8,000 cattle were confiscated

25 September

  • Schomberg was so pleased with this success that he paraded all the ‘Inniskilling’ troops in his camp at Dundalk, complimented them on their comrades’ victory, and rode along the whole line with his hat off




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