Aldgate & Aldersgate Tavern Tokens
The Pie (Magpie), issued by David Gill 1671, Aldgate Without
The issuing of currency was the Prerogative of the Monarch until Charles I got his head chopped off in 1649, and anyone was free to mint their own coins. It was practice taken up chiefly by taverns and coffee houses and, occasionally, others as well – such as the trader at the Bear in Aldgate, who was believed to have been a Cheesemonger.
Last week, I showed you the Tavern Tokens from Bishopsgate and these are complemented today by those from Aldgate and Aldersgate – two of the other primary approaches to the City of London, each lined with inns used as points of arrival and departure for travellers.
At first, farthing tokens were issued that were the same size as those formerly issued by the Mint. Yet, by 1656, larger tokens serving as half-pennies began to appear and, by 1663, pennies. After the Restoration of the Monarch in 1661, the Mint began to produce coinage again and in 1672, the issuing of tokens was made illegal by Royal Proclamation of Charles II.
The production of these tiny intricate tokens spans only a few years but, in their lively imagery and dramatic patination, they evoke the life of London in one of its most volatile times, when we experienced a Revolution, a Civil War, a Regicide, a Plague, a Fire and a Restoration – all in one quarter century.
The Queen’s Head, Aldgate - Vintner, Thomas Withers
The Castle, Aldgate – Thos Slightholme, Vintner
Gabriel Harper, 1651 - A pun on the Vintner’s name
The Grapes, Aldgate Without - Was this issued at the Hoop & Grapes, still standing?
The Bell, Aldgate Within
Three Morris Dancer, Aldersgate - Vintner, John Lisle
Crowned Cock & Bottle, Aldersgate St - Mathew White, Vintner
The Mermaid, St Anne’s Lane, Aldersgate -Vintner, John Wickers, 1667
The Fountain, Aldersgate Within - Matthew Hutchinson, Vintner
At The Still, Aldersgate St - Vintner, Michael Symonds
Images courtesy Bishopsgate Institute
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