[From Mona Miscellany second series Manx Soc vol 21]


The Manx appear to have had no coinage of their own, unless we may take it for granted the leather money to be such, which is stated was in circulation about 1577. They had mainly to depend upon what currency found its way into the Island by way of barter or otherwise with other nations; the coi~isequence was, much of it was of a questionable kind. The first coin of the Island is that known as "John Murrey’s pence," 1668, which was nothing more than a tradesman’s token, and by an order in Council, in 1679, was allowed to pass as current "until it be otherwise declared to the contrary."

The 10th Earl of Derby issued a coinage of pence and halfpence in 1709, which was the first legitimate issue of Manx coinage known. Dr. Charles Clay, of Manchester, has gone fully into the history of the "currency of the Isle of Man," in the 17th volume of the Manx Society’s publications, 1869, that it is unnecessary here further to allude to the coinage of the Earls of Derby and Duke of Atholl.

Daring the reign of George III., from 1786 to 1813, a coinage of pence and halfpence was issued at the rate of 14d. Manx for 12d. English, but the inconvenience arising from this difference in the exchangeable value, and the debased state of the currency in circulation being found so great, an order in Council was issued, 10th April 1839, to authorise the Mint to coin One thousand pounds sterling in pence, halfpence, and farthings, for circulation in the Isle of Man, assimilating the value of the same to the copper coinage of Great Britain. This was accordingly done, and an Act of Tynwald passed assimilating the value and legalising the same in the Island, which Act was promulgated at St. John’s on the 17th March 1840.*

This Act created so great an excitement and hostility, particularly amongst the poorer class and country people, who imagined they were about to be ruined entirely, that very serious riots took place in consequence in the towns of Douglas and Peel, which rendered the presence of the military necessary. This was called "The Copper Row," and was the subject of a song given in Mona Miscellany, first series, p. 118.

 * Vide Gell’s Statutes, p. 38. Douglas, 1848.


Back index next


Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001