14 Pence to the Shilling

The English standard of 12 pence/shilling arrived with the Normans, prior to this the Amglo-saxons had used 4, 5 or 12 pence. A silver shilling coin was first struck in the 16th century - prior to this the penny was the largest silver coin in circulation.

Dolly describes how the rise in precious metal prices in the late 17th century meant that the value of the standard English gold coin (the 'guinea' from its use of gold from the Guinea coast of Africa) rose in value until at the peak in 1696/7 it passed for 30 shillings before stabilizing by 1717 at 21 shillings.

Outside of England and especially in Ireland, inferior money was valued less than its English counterpart - such that by Tudor times there was 13 Irish pence to the English Shilling coin - thus copper coinage was struck from Charles II onwards which weighed 12/13ths of its English counterpart. A similar arrangement appeared to hold on Man where the reckoning was 14 pence to the English shilling.

Dolley reckons that this occured in 1696 based on a quoted extract from Lib Scacc by Moore, which, based on the quoted values, Dolley dates to the summer of 1696 when the given values accurately reflected the English value of the guinea coin. This is borne out by the list of debts dated 20 Jan 1696/7 in the probate of Thurstan Tydesley's will which distinguishes 'old shillings'.



M Dolley Fourteen Pence to the Shilling The Manxman #3 Winter 1975/6

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