William 1st Silver Penny

Contributed by Anthony

Click image 2 below to hear the Radio 4 interview about this object

Image 1 of 2

Our family (Sweatman) emanated from the City of Oxford in England where we have two records from the Doomsday Book of families living in 'hovels' or 'holes in the wall'. They were 'Moneyers' and were licensed to produce coin of the realm. Six coins (William I Silver Pennies 1066 - 1087) reside on display in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford that have the name S?ETMAN stamped on the reverse.

We also have one of these silver coins which obviously, is very much treasured !

The 'A' in the name of Sweatman is an option that developed much later on.

The 'W' within the name is represented by a letter (?) that looks very similar to a p but is narrower and the curved part descends at 45° to meet the descending stroke and named (wynn, win or wen) and is descended from a Saxon 'runic' letter.

Comments are closed for this object


  • 1. At 09:38 on 10 June 2010, Keith Briggs wrote:

    There is no chance that the modern surname Sweatman comes specifically from Swetman the moneyer in Domesday Book, simply because hereditary surnames were not used until at least 200 years after Domesday. The font-name Swetman was common after Domesday, and it will be one of these later Swetmans who give the modern surname. For example, B. Seltén, The Anglo-Saxon heritage in Middle English personal names, vol2, p156 has a long list of 12th and 13th century Swetmans. Similarly, the claim on the audio clip that the identity of the name of the moneyer with a modern Tony Sweatman proves ancestry cannot be justified. (In any case, DB has two Swetmans in Oxford. See http://www.pase.ac.uk/pase/apps/persons/index.html for other examples.)

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 18:20 on 1 October 2010, romanbaz wrote:

    Amazing that your name is on a coin this old, and you are a relative.

    Complain about this comment

Most of the content on A History of the World is created by the contributors, who are the museums and members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC or the British Museum. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site’s House Rules please Flag This Object.

About this object

Click a button to explore other objects in the timeline




Find out more

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.