Lydford Coins

Factual Story

Lydford CoinsBy: RAMMBack to Dartmoor Stories

Location: Lydford

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Lydford was one of a number of Anglo Saxon coin-minting centres. A mint operated in the area between the years of AD 973 and AD 1050. No archaeological remains of the buildings have been found, so all of the conclusions drawn have been based on the surviving coins, of which there are more than 400.

Archaeological finds of Lydford coins across England and Wales are very rare – by far the greatest concentration is in Scandinavia deriving from ransoms (danegeld) paid to attacking Vikings.

Around AD 973 there was a major reform of the currency, with the reigning monarch being imprinted on the front, and the name of the moneyer and the mint on the reverse. These coins are the only surviving records of the names of the moneyers operating in late Saxon times. Some of the names appear on coins from more than one Westcountry mint supporting the theory that moneyers moved around the region.

Hunwine is one of fifteen names found on coins struck at Lydford, and it also appears on coins from at least six mints around the Westcountry. It is possible to track his career by examining the dates and mints stamped on the surviving coins. We can conclude that he started working in Totnes, continuing there for around seven years, before moving to Exeter (coining occasionally at Ilchester). From there he moved to Watchet where he remained for about twenty-five years, during which time he added Axbridge and Lydford to his list of moneyships. Hunwine’s last recorded coin was struck around 1025 when he would have been in his late fifties or sixties. His prolific career spanned around 40 years.

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