Monday, September 10, 2012

Medieval Money

Medieval Weights and Money Matters – A Brief Lesson:

In medieval England, one pound usually contained about 16 ounces, but sometimes 12.  A stone was about 14 pounds and an hundredweight was usually 112 pounds (I wish I weighed an hundred weight *smile*, then I’d fit into my old jeans).

Money was generally counted in pounds, shillings and pence.  A “groat” coin was worth 4 pence. Twelve pence made a shilling. A pound contained a value of 20 shillings. For extra small amounts, 4 farthings, and also 2 half-pennies, made a penny.

King Edward I’s export tax on wool, at its highest, claimed FOUR shillings per sack of wool, a high price to pay the sovereign. This law sometimes led people to smuggle their goods to avoid paying the “outrageous” tax (as in the backdrop of my novel, Shadows of Valor, due out July 27, 2013)

Coins, in addition to containing the king’s image, held an actual metal value and had to maintain their weight. Punishments were doled out for anyone found clipping or slicing off the edges of coins to collect the precious metal. Do you think they got their hands clipped or sliced for the crime? I sure hope not.

For more information on medieval weights and measures:

1 comment:

  1. I had never thought about trimming coins for the value of the metal--guess our government today is grateful our money only has its face value.