Currency and the Economy in Tudor and early Stuart England

Classic Pamphlet

C. E Challis, last updated: 7th February 2014

Transformation of an Economy

Before the development of paper money, which in England did not really occur until later in the seventeenth century, the circulating medium consisted of coins and tokens. The unit of account in which they were valued was the pound sterling; in which there were twenty shillings each of twelve pence, making 240 pennies in all. In value terms, coins were unquestionably more important than tokens and, although from time to time coins were imported, the overwhelming number throughout the Tudor and early Stuart period were produced at home.

The ending of the franchises in the later years of Henry VIII's reign, whereby the bishop of Durham and the archbishops of Canterbury and York had minted small quantities of silver under royal license, was followed by a brief period  in which some minting occurred in the provinces under direct royal control, and there was a subsequent, if minor, resurgence of provincial minting following parliament's seizure of the Tower mint in 1642...

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