Post-Roman Coins by E.J.E.Pirie

A. Northumbria: stycas

Phase I, c.790 - 835

Phase Ia: issues in silver of fluctuating fineness, c.790 - 830

  1. Eanred, c.810-41; moneyer: Huaetred
    Obv.: [+]EANRE[... (the A, unbarred), round central cross
    Rev.: [+HVA]ETRED, round central cross
    Wt.: 0.44g (6.8gr.), fragment; die-axis: c.0o
    COT93, 3012, sf1.

    Huaetred is known as a moneyer early in Eanred's reign, at a time when coins seem to have been struck and issued only intermittently. Although many other specimens of Huaetred's work have been recorded, the dies for this Cottam example have not yet been matched elsewhere. The legends remains clear, yet the fabric of the coin appears to be considerably oxidized.

Phase Ib: early issues in copper alloy, c.830 - 35

No specimen representing this short period has been recovered.

Phase II: later issues in copper alloy, c.837 - 55

  1. Aethelred II: first reign, c.841-43/4; moneyer: Alghere
    Obv.: +[AEDIL]RED(*thorn), round central cross
    Rev.: +A[LGHE]RE, round central cross
    Wt.: 0.45g (6.95gr.), fragment; die-axis: c.135o
    COT93, unstratified, sf88.

    Analysis of the wealth of material surviving from Phase II has demonstrated that there are several groups of coins which represent concurrent rather than consecutive issues. This coin was almost certainly struck from the same dies as CKN 507 which belongs to the small Group B (defined principally by the spelling of the king's name) within which Alghere was the major moneyer for the reign. The clarity of the surviving legends indicates that the specimen must have been lost when fairly new.

  2. Aethelred II: first reign. c.841-43/4; moneyer: Wihtred
    Obv.: +EDILRED REX, round central cross
    Rev.: +VIHTRED, round central cross
    Wt.: 0.68g (10.5gr.); die-axis: 90o
    COT95, unstratified, sf1.

    A thin flan, rather than prolonged circulation wear, must surely account for the low weight of this specimen; details of the legends are still crisp. The coin has been struck from the same dies as CKN 885, which falls within the main section, Ci, of the phase's principal Group C. The reverse die is one of only a few, of those known for this moneyer, which spell the name with the initial V rather than with wen (W).

  3. Uigmund, archbishop of York, c.837-49/50; moneyer: Coenred
    Obv.: +VIGMVND, round central cross
    Rev.: +COENRED, round central cross
    Wt.: 1.08g (16.6gr); die-axis: 270o
    COT93, 1001, sf2.

    Some characteristics of Coenred's coins for the archbishop reflect those of regal coins attributed to Group A. At the present stage of research (pending further die-analysis), all Coenred's archiepiscopal issues have also been assigned to Group A. The obverse of this specimen has been struck from the same die as that of CKN 421; the reverse die must be accounted new for the records. The coin itself is in almost pristine condition, with a good patina; it can hardly have been in circulation for long before it was lost.

  4. Irregular issue, struck from dies with nonsense legends: this is now very worn and detail is virtually illegible; it may be from the same dies as CKN 1835 or 1836, within Group Di, which comprises small clusters of die-linked issues reflecting the official coins of Group C; the coins weight is 0.61g (9.4gr.) and its die-axis is indeterminate. COT93, unstratified, sf77.

B. Kingdom of Wessex: silver penny (fragment)

  1. Æthelbert, 858 - 65/6; moneyer: most probably Wulfheard
    Open Cross type, 858 - c.862/4
    Obv.: +AE[THELBEARHT REX] (the first A, unbarred; the TH, as Saxon thorn), round bust facing right
    Rev.: [+VV]LFEA / RD [MON] E T [A] (LFEA barely showing at the break), on and between the limbs of a beaded cross
    Wt.: 0.41g (6.3gr.); die-axis: 0o
    COT93, 1003, sf13.

    Several other possible moneyers are known for this type, besides Wulfheard: Cealeard, Ethelgeard, Heregeard and Ulanceard. Yet, this fragment from Cottam has been compared with a complete specimen by Wulfheard for this reign (SCBI 30, 294); both make the break in the reverse legend between the A and the R of -eard.

    That a coin attributable to ∆thelberht of Wessex has been recovered from this site is of interest on two counts. First, although evidence elsewhere attests the virtual exclusion of 'foreign' coin during the period when Northumbria was producing its own idiosyncratic currency, it is equally clear that by about 855, the styca coinage had reached a stage of collapse; although such coins may well have remained in circulation, no further issues can have been made during the years before the emergence of the Viking coinage of York. The time must have been ripe for the acceptance of money produced in other regions, such as this specimen from Wessex. Further, in 1986, excavations at Fishergate, York, recovered another coin (as yet unpublished) of the same type, for ∆thelberht, by the moneyer Hunbearht.

    It is, perhaps, because of this other specimen, from York, that one has now decided on such identification for a fragment on which so little of the two personal names can be clearly read. The same Open Cross type was also struck, c.855-8/9, in the name of ∆thelwulf of Wessex, among whose moneyers was Ethelgeard. Detail shown on one of his coins (SCBI 26, 1110) does not, however, match that of the dies used for the find at Cottam. This earlier attribution may be ruled out.