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Gold and Gilt, Pots and PinsPossessions and People in Medieval Britain$
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David A. Hinton

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199264537

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199264537.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 June 2021

Material Culture and Social Display

Material Culture and Social Display

From the Mid-Thirteenth Century to the Beginning of the Fifteenth

7 (p.206) Material Culture and Social Display1
Gold and Gilt, Pots and Pins

David A. Hinton

Oxford University Press

The trend towards increasing secular interest in jewellery was probably maintained throughout the thirteenth century, though precise dating of individual pieces remains difficult. With only small amounts of gold to be found in the south of France and Hungary, western Europeans continued to depend upon both gold and gems coming by overland routes from or through the Arab world, with Italian merchants acting as intermediaries. In 1257 Henry III was able to attempt to imitate continental kings by issuing gold coins, not to facilitate trade but to attract gold into the mint to back up his loans and pledges, and to use as alms. The care that went into the coins’ design shows that they were thought of as having prestige value, and the decision to represent the king carrying the orb and sceptre was most probably made in homage to one of the issues of his revered predecessor Edward the Confessor; the royal seal was also changed, to a design that adapted Edward’s image of an enthroned king ruling as a judge like Solomon rather than as a military leader with a sword. Henry’s gold coins were only produced in small numbers and for a very short time, but they show that the importance of the symbolism of a currency was still understood, though no more effort was made with the designs of everyday silver coins than in previous reigns. The amount of coinage in circulation is shown both by single finds and hoards, not only in England but in Wales and Scotland as well. Excavation of the church at Capel Maelog, Powys, produced coins of Henry III, Edward I (1272–1307), and Richard II (1377–99), suggesting that the use of English money had spread into Welsh culture. The Welsh kings did not mint their own coins, however, unlike the kings of Scotland, whose coins were allowed to circulate in England just as English ones did north of the border. Presumably exclusion of a rival’s image was no longer a matter of pride. No hoard in Britain hidden during the middle part of the thirteenth century has objects in it to help to establish a chronology for jewellery.

Keywords:   beads, castles, deodand, furs, ginger, healing, inventories, jet, lapidaries, mazers

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