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.
A half penny token of Henry Morrell of Hartshorne Lane, Westminster
The above copper half penny measures 21.0 mm and weighs 1.22 grams. It was issued in the name of Henry Morrell.
Obverse: (rosette) HENRY.MORRELL.AT.YE.LIME , around twisted wire inner circle, H M E inter spaced with three rosettes with two sets of three dots arranged in triangular form below with a fourth rosette in between.
Reverse: (rosette) WHARF.IN.HART.HORNE.LANE , around twisted wire inner circle, HIS/ HALFE /PENNY /1667 in four lines plus six dits arranged in an elongated cross pattern within.
Hartshorne Lane, Westminster (1720)
Lime wharf was a but busy wharf on the River Thames at the bottom of Harshorne Lane, which ran south off the Strand to the west of where the present day Charing Cross Station is located. This part of the city was outside of the area affected by the Great Fire of 1666.
As yet I’ve been unable to find any record as to the trade or further background details of Henry Morrell or his wife whose name , based on the reverse triad of initials, was presumably Elizabeth? Henry Morrell is not listed in the Hearth Tax records for 1662, 1664 or 1666. However, there is a record of the marrige of a Henry Morrell and an Elizabeth Estridge in the parish registers of St. Gregory by St Paul’s on 12th May 1664.