Mining in the 14th C - scenes from a medieval silver mine

Monetary Crisis (1369), as Richard II orders his colonists to search for silver and gold mines in Ireland

Following the death in 1376 of his father, Edward of Woodstock (the Black Prince), Richard became heir to his grandfather, King Edward III of England, whom he succeeded in 1377 at the age of ten. His reign of twenty-two years saw a number of domestic crises, from the Peasants’ Revolt (1381) to later conflicts with…

Edward III Halfpenny, Dublin mint

O’Brien Rare Coin Review: The Irish Coinage of Edward III (1339-40)

Introduction After Edward III, there was a gap in Irish coin production of over 120 years. What caused this? Was it an economic or political decision, or a combination of several different causal factors? Did the causal factors occur before and/or during the reign of Edward III ??? No coins would be minted in Ireland for…

A medieval depiction of an army sailing to Waterford city (from Jean Creton, Histoire rimée de Richard II)

Richard II’s second expedition to Ireland

In late 1397, with the Irish lords of both Ulster and Leinster once more at war, Richard was already planning to return. His second expedition, in June and July 1399, again brought a significant army to Ireland, albeit less than half the size of the force he brought with him on his previous visit. Richard II…

Art Mór Mac Murchadha Caomhánach riding to meet the earl of Gloucester, as depicted in an illustration to Jean Creton's Histoire du roy d'Angleterre Richard II

Richard II’s first expedition to Ireland

Less warlike than either his father or grandfather, he sought to bring an end to the Hundred Years’ War that Edward III had started. There was war in Connacht between the O’Connors, in 1384, and fierce hostility continued for years after between the families of the O’Connor Don (Brown) and the O’Connor Roe (Red) In…


How hammered coins were made in medieval times (a video blog)

One of the most asked questions relating to hammered coins is “how are they made?” Rather than go into a long speech about how it was done, perhaps it is best if I leave this to the experts …. Dave Greenhalgh (Cosmeston Medieval Village) & Barrie Cook (Curator of Medieval Coins, British Museum) Dave reckons…

King John Irish farthing, Dublin mint

Collecting medieval Irish coins

One of the more difficult aspects of coin collecting is the language barrier one encounters when trying to decipher the legends (text around the edges) of coins. Very few of us speak Latin and truncated Latin still appears on British coins today. As we all know, British coins circulated alongside Irish coins in this country…