The above copper farthing measures 15.6 mm and weighs 0.92 grams. It was possibly issued by the landlord of a Tun Inn or Tavern in Aldersgate Street, London.
Obverse: (star) AT.THE.TVNN.IN , around depiction of a barrel (or tun) on its side.
Reverse: (star) ALDERSGATE. STREET , around a triad comprising T | .A. | .E
Aldersgate Street (c.1720)
Aldersgate Street ran north from the Aldersgate in the city wall through the Ward of Aldersgate Without.
Based on the style of this farthing token it is likely to date to the 1650s. With only the triad of the token issuers’ initials to work on (i.e. Mr. T.A. and Mrs. E.A.) it is very difficult to attribute it to named individuals. Trading under the sign of the tun (i.e. barrel) it is very likely that the token’s issuers were inn or tavern keepers as the symbol of the “tun” is synonymous with that of vituallers of the time. A review of Hearth Tax returns for Aldersgate Street in 1666 indicates only one male individual with initials that fit those on the token. These belong to a Thomas Apsley who is recorded as a single man occupying a property having 2 hearths. If this is the same person as the Mr. T.A. mentioned in the token (of which there is only a possibility) it has to be assumed that by 1666 Thomas Apsley had become a widower and was no-longer a publican as such a small number of hearths is not typical for a tavern or inn.
A half penny token issued by Thomas Clatworthy of White Hart Yard
The above copper half penny measures 21.0 mm and weighs 2.59 grams. It was issued by Thomas Clatworthy at the sign of the Crooked Billet (i.e. a crooked stick) in White Hart Yard in 1666.
Obverse: (rosette) THOMAS.CLATWORTHY.AT.THE , around twisted wire, within the depiction of a crooked billet.
Reverse: (rosette) IN.WHITE.HART.YARD.1666 , around twisted wire inner circle HIS / HALFE / PENNY in three lines, below four dots arranged in a cross pattern.
There are still public houses and restaurants in south-east England that trade under the name of the “Crooked Billet”. A crooked billet was a bent wooden stick or cudgel which was used to play a game which was possibly a for runners of modern-day cricket.
The fact that these tokens are found in and around the vicinity of London indicates that they originate from that locality. Unfortunately the token issuer or his address has not been fully identified with any one particular location in this area. Possible contending areas for the token’s origin are as follows;
- White Hart Yard – Stepney
- White Hart Inn Yard – Holborn
- White Hart Yard – Drury Lane
- White Hart Yard – St. Martin’s Lane, Westminster
- White Hart Yard – Tothill Street, Westminster
- White Hart Yard – Bermondsey, Surrey
- White Hart Yard – Southwark, Surrey
Searches of the 1662, 1664 and 1666 Hearth Tax returns for London and Westminster (made by myself) have returned no entries for anyone with the name Clatworthy or Clayworthy etc.
A half penny of John Warner, Aldersgate Street, London
The above copper half penny measures 21.0 mm and weighs 2.05 grams. It was issued by John Warner of the Bell and Dolphin in Aldersgate Street, London, in 1668.
Obverse: (star) IOHN. WALNER. IN. 1668 , around twisted wire, within the depiction of a dolphin above a bell.
Reverse: (star) ALDERSGATE. STREET , around twisted wire inner circle HIS / HALFE / PENNY in three lines, below a triad comprising I | W. | A
Aldersgate Street (c.1720)
Aldersgate Street ran north from the Altersgate in the city wall through the Ward of Aldersgate Without. In John Ogilby and William Morgan’s 1676 Map of the City of London a “Bell Inn” is located at the northern end of Aldersgate Street at the location highlighted by location marker No.42 in the above street plan. It is very probable that the Bell Inn can be identified with the Bell and Dolphin alluded to on John Warner’s half penny token of 1668.
In the Hearth Tax returns for Altdersgate Street in 1666 John Warner is recorded as occupying a property having 11 hearths. This is very much in-line with him being an innkeeper. Based on the triad of his plus his wife’s initials on the reverse of his token it is possible that his wife’s name was Ann.