The above copper penny token measures 24.1 mm and weighs 4.95 grams. It was issued in 1669 in the name of Edward Shrawley who operated his business at the sign of the Crown in Creechurch Lance in the Aldgate Ward of the City of London. The design of the token may be formally described as follows;
Obverse: (rosette) EDWARD. SHRAWLEY . AT . YE . CROWN , around twisted wire inner circle, a crown within.
Reverse: (rosette) IN. CEEECHVRCH . LANE . 1669, around twisted wire inner circle, legend within three lines reads HIS / (rosette) I D (rosette) plus triad below comprising E |(rosette) S (rosette) | (rosette) I.
A similar design of half penny token is also recorded with the issue date of 1666.
Based on a review of surviving London parish registers plus the apprenticeship registers of the Worshipful Company of Vintners it appears highly likely that Edward Shrawley was born in 1644 and baptised on 3rd November of that same year in the church of St. Mary at Hill, Billingsgate . His parents were Thomas and Sarah Shrawley. Thomas Shrawley was a grocer and citizen of London.
At the age of fifteen Edward was bound apprentice by his father to Brian Appleby, a London Vintner. It is likely that Edward served a typical seven-year apprenticeship before gaining his freedom and becoming a Vintner in his own right at the age of twenty-two.
Edward obviously had ambitions and a new what he wanted from life. Within less than a year of striking out on his own he was married and within three years it appears he was the proprietor of the Crown (we must assume a tavern) in Chreechurch Lane in the Aldgate Ward of the city of London.
On 4th April 1666/7 the parish register of St. James Dukes Place show Edward marrying Josinah Minshull. The initial I/J in the triad of issuers’ initials on the above token’s reverse is obviously that of his wife’s christian name.
A year after their marriage Edward and Josinah had their first child, a son who was baptised Edward at the neighbouring church of St. Katherine Cree, located on the corner of Leadenhall Street and Creechurch Lane. This part of the city was spared from destruction during the Great Fire of London in early September of 1666 and property prices and associated rents in the area at this time must have been at premium levels.
In 1681 Edward and Josinah had a second son. He again was baptised as Edward at the parish church of St. Katherine Cree. In the parish register the baby’s farther is recorded as Captain Edward Shrawley. It is possible that Edward had become a member of the local city militia or “trained bands”. As will become apparent later this is a title that Edward appears proud to have used until at least the early 1683.
A copy of Edward Shrawley’s Last Will and Testimony exists in the collections of the Metropolitan Archives and Guildhall Library (London) and is dated 6th August 1690. The cover of the Will bears the note that it had passed probate by 5th February 1694/5. His Will confirms the name of his wife still as Josinah, and his profession as a London vintner. It also confirms the then existence of two surviving children, a son Edward and a daughter Martha.
As yet the current writer has found no references to a Crown Tavern in Creechurch Lane or any reference to Edward Shrawley in the city Hearth Tax returns of the 1660s. In the 18th century there is a recorded trade sign in Creechurch Lane of “Three Sugar Loaves and Crown” which may have been related to a nearby Crown Tavern? To the south-west of Creechurch Lane on the southern side of Leadenhall Street (see location 20 on the above plan) there was a “Crown Tavern” but again there is no reference to a Mr. Shrawley in that street in the Hearth Tax returns of the 1660s.
Over the course of his career Edward took on apprentices of his own. At least two indentures exist prepared under the seal of The Worshipful Company of Vintners and dated 1672 and 1674 contracting two separate boys to the terms of seven and eight years respectively as apprentices to Edward Shrawley.
A vintner by the name Edward Shrawley was buried in St. Saviours parish church in Southwark on 2nd November 1694. Given the deceased stated profession in the burial register plus the close proximity of his burial date compared to the probate date on the Will of Edward Shrawley the token issuer, we must assume they are one and the same person and that Edward died a day short of his fiftieth birthday.
According to the apprenticeship records of the Worshipful Company of Vintners, Edward Shrawley’s surviving son, Edward, followed in his farther’s footsteps. Two years after his father’s death young Edward was bound as an apprentice to Thomas Harris, a London vintner.
It is not clear what became of Josinah after Edward’s death. However, listings exist of a widow Shrawley living in the district of Cripplegate Within in 1703 and 1704 and a further record of the burial of a Mrs. Josina Shrawley at All Saints Church, Edmonton. It is almost certain that the latter was Edward’s widow as there is a least one other know link between the Shrawley family and this area of Middlesex. In the churchyard of what was once Weld Chapel, a former chapel of ease to the church of All Saints, Edmonton and now the site of Christ Church, Southgate, can be found the grave marker illustrated below. It records the death of Rebecca Shrawley, the daughter of Captain Edward Shrawley, who died on the 9th September 1683, at the age of 4 months and 6 days. It appears that the Shrawley family has strong connections with the Edmonton area and may even have had a second home there. It was not uncommon in the 17th century for wealthier trades and business men to have a second home in rural Middlesex within easy communication with the city.