Silver penny of William The Conqueror

Contributed by The Hunterian

Silver penny of William The Conqueror

On this very rare penny, minted between 1066 and 1068, we see the bust of William The Conqueror, wearing a crown and shown standing under a canopy. His name and title (REX = king) are shown around his portrait. The back has a design based on a cross along with the name of the moneyer, who was in charge of making the coins, and the mint where they were made. This coin was made by Swottinc at Exeter.

This penny comes from the St. Mary Hill Church hoard, found in Billingsgate, London in 1775. Between 300 and 400 silver coins and a gold brooch were found in a pot buried near the church during the reign of William I. Before there were banks and safe places to keep valuables hiding your wealth, especially in troubled times, was very common.

Whoever hid this hoard did not come back for it suggesting that something happened to them. The Norman Conquest changed life in England as people who had been rich and powerful before were now ruled by people from another country who brought many new customs with them. Perhaps the person who buried this hoard was killed fighting the Normans.

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