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Silver penny of Edward the Confessor

This Anglo-Saxon, 1053-1056, coin, a silver penny of Edward the Confessor, was found during archaeological excavations on the Cathedral Green, Winchester, Hampshire

Following the death of Harthacnut in 1042 Edward the Confessor became king remaining on the throne until his death in 1066. Edward's sympathies lay with the home and friends of his youth - Normandy. He spoke their language, introduced their habits and laid the foundations for the great events of 1066. His coinage, however, is a continuation of what went before. This coin is the most common type of his reign. The obverse has a bust of Edward, bearded, wearing a pointed helmet and holding a sceptre in his right hand. The moneyer was Aestan, the reverse inscription reading +AESTAN ON PINCEST ('Aestan of Winchester'). The 'P' represents the Anglo-Saxon 'wen' character pronounced 'w'.

Winchester Mint

For three hundred and fifty years Winchester had its own mint striking coins under royal control. The first coins to carry the mint-signature of Winchester (ǷIN or ǷINC - The Anglo-Saxon wen, or Ƿ, being equivalent to the modern W) were issued at the very end of Alfred's reign probably around 895. The mint's final period of activity was in 1248-50 during the reign of Henry III.

The number of moneyers striking coinage at any one time varied but from the time of Aethelstan's decree there were to be six moneyers working in Winchester. The importance nationally of the mint fluctuated. In the years immediately before the Norman Conquest, Winchester mint ranked fourth in the country after London, York and Lincoln. During the reign of Henry I (1100-35) the number of named moneyers rose to sixteen, more than any other mint except London. The conflict between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda, daughter of Henry I, which culminated in the sack of the royal palace in Winchester in 1141, sealed its decline in importance.

Object Details

Weight 1.21g. Diameter 19.5mm.

On display at City Museum, Wintanceaster Gallery.

Object number: WINCM:C4153