O'Reilly Money - Henry VI, annulet issue, Calais mint, ex Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society

Monetary Crisis in Ireland, as Henry VI struggles with money supply and fiscal control

Introduction: During the reign of Henry VI many parliamentary regulations were made in Ireland, relating to money; but most of these acts, as well as those of the three former reigns, are either lost or destroyed. 1422 By an English statute of his second year, it was enacted, that the ounce of silver should be…

Arrival of the English Flagship Royal Charles, painting by Jeronymus van Diest II from the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (note the Dutch flag at the rear and English flag flying upside down from the main mast)

Financial Crisis (1667) avoided by Charles II, via London Goldsmiths’ Loans

Background After a brief hiatus of experimentation with a pseudo-republican government under Oliver Cromwell, the English monarchy was reinstated in 1660 but Charles II began his reign with vastly reduced powers, especially in the realm of taxation – responsibility for which had been transferred to Parliament. This was a major restriction on Charles II and…

A wooden stick for recording transactions. Made in England in the third quarter of the thirteenth century, the first stick reads “£9.4s.4d. from Fulk Basset for the farm of Wycombe“; probably Fulco Basset, bishop of London, who died of the plague in 1259. The second one reads: “£4. 8p. from Robert of Curclington for an injustice.”

Banking Crisis (1672) for London Goldsmiths, as Charles II Stops Loan Repayments

Background By the mid-17th century, the goldsmith bankers had a virtual monopoly on banking and had made extensive loans to King Charles II. The king was able to do this and circumvent parliament completely via the use of ‘tally sticks’ but there was a natural limit to this debt expansion, i.e. the amount of gold held…

Charles II, King of England, Scotland and Ireland, by John Riley

Banking Collapse in London (1676) as Charles II Defaults on Royal Loans

Background The Great Stop of 1672 caused five of the leading London Goldsmiths to go bust, drastically affected nine others, and ‘financially embarrassed over 10,000 wealthy families in England. The Great Stop effectively ended the ‘cosy relationship’ between the king and a small clique of private bankers that thrived on the Crown’s inability to generate…