The above brass farthing token measures 15.9 mm and weighs 1.17 grams. It was issued in the name of Three Mariners in Boss Alley in 1653. The design of the token may be formally described as follows;
Obverse: (star) AT.THE 3.MARINERS, around edge. Within centre field a depiction of three sailors standing. The centre one smoking a clay pipe (?).
Reverse: (star) IN.BOSS.ALLEY.1653 , around twisted wire inner circle. Triad W | .R. | C within.
There are two alternatives for the location of Boss Alley and both lead off Thames Street. The first of these options is in Billingsgate Ward to the north of Thames Street, east of St. Mary Hill and the south of Cross Lane. The second possibility, and the one normally accepted, is in Queenhithe Ward. This option runs off the south side of Thames Street,opposite Green Dragon Court and running parallel to Trig Lane.
As yet the issuers of this farthing token , Mr. W.R. and Mrs. C.R., have not been identified. The Three Mariners was possibly a tavern. Its location between Thames Street and the north bank of the Thames, made it very accessible to passing trade moving to and from the nearby watermen’s stairs or boat landing stage known as Trig Stairs. Here boats could be hired to cross the river or navigate to one of the many other river stairs located both up and down stream along both banks of the Thames.
The sign of the Three Mariners was common along the banks of the Thames. There are at least a dozen other examples of this sign known from 17th century London.