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GM24246

Edward the Confessor Penny, Hammer cross type, Huntingdon, Godric

Edward the Confessor (1042-66),silver Penny, hammer cross type (1059-62), Huntingdon Mint, Moneyer Godric, crowned and draped bust in profile right, holding lis headed sceptre, bust to edge of coin, legend commences at top, +EADPAR RD RE,rev.pellet at centre of voided cross with pellet hammer head ends, legend surrounding with outer beaded border, +GODRIC ON HVNTE., weight 1.36g (SCBI American 30:632; BMC type XI; N.828; S.1182).Toned, rim a little crimped and undulating, a bold very fine.

The legends translate as "Edward King " on obverse and on the reverse "Godric of Huntingdon."

According to North the Huntingdon Mint operated with up to eight moneyers in this reign through nine types.

Edward son of Aethelred II and Emma (married 1002) was born at Islip, Oxford probably around 1003-4 as he is already witnessing charters as of 1005, spending early life at Ely Abbey until taken to Normandy by his mother in the autumn of 1013. Recalled to England in 1016 Edward went into exile at the court of his uncle Richard II of Normandy after the death of Edmund Ironside in November of that year, his mother leaving him to marry Canute in 1017. Edward remained there through the death of his uncle in 1027, then with his cousins Richard III and Robert until 1035 when he and his brother Alfred set off separately to see their mother at Winchester. Edward sailed to but was refused passage into Southampton, however Alfred who landed successfully in Kent was betrayed by Godwin at Guildford who turned him over to Harold and died at Ely after being fatally blinded. Edward later met his mother at Bruges in 1039 where he met with Harthacanute and was later called to England once the latter was King to be named as heir apparent. Harthacanute died suddenly after imbibing too much at a wedding on 8th June 1042 and Edward was chosen King by council backed by Earl Godwin who perhaps was trying to make amends for the death of Harold as he also gave the gift of a galley ship. Edward was at first inexperienced and relied on a series of Earls and administrators for advice. Edward married Godwin's daughter Edith in January 1045 but their union remained childless as relations with Godwin became more fraught perhaps as Edward had placed more Normans in pivotal roles in what was becoming a well-organized system of governance reaching a zenith in autumn 1051. That year Edward's sister Goda visited with her husband Eustace of Boulogne, and upon their return journey encountered hostility in Dover. Edward asked Godwin to punish the people of Dover on his behalf, but he refused (perhaps resenting the number of Normans in important positions), resulting in Edward banishing Godwin and all his family, including his own wife Edith and splitting his lands. It was at this time that according to the French sources, that Edward visited William of Normandy for naval support and to keep an eye on Godwin, as William was married to a daughter of Count Baldwin and was therefore brother-in-law to Tostig, Godwin's son, married to another daughter of Baldwin, and during this visit perhaps the heirship to England was discussed. By June 1052 Harold "Godwinson" was off the Isle of Wight and sailed up the Thames together with his Father, where they induced Edward to pardon the family and take back Edith. With the death of Godwin in April 1053 Harold now stepped into the fore as the Chief Minister and Commander in Chief to Edward and struck up a harmonious relationship of government which lasted until 1066; Harold restoring much of Wales to English over-lordship, securing southern Britain, whilst becoming the richest person in England after the King.

In 1054 Edward sent Bishop Ealdred of Worcester into Europe to seek the sons of Edmund Ironside, locating the only survivor Edward "The Exile" in Hungary. He was invited with his family to London in early 1057 but he died aged around 40, just after arrival leaving wife Agatha, a baby son Edgar, and two daughters Margaret and Cristina. Other court favourites of Edward, Ralph of Hereford and Siward passed away around this time too. In 1065 a revolt in Northumbria under Earl Tostig, brother of Harold culminated at Oxford where Harold came to terms and exiled Tostig; and it was at this time that Harold perhaps visited Normandy, despite warnings from Edward to negotiate hostage kinsmen's release, and as shown in the Bayeux Tapestry, then making an oath to William as heir, swearing allegiance, unbeknownst till after that he swore over holy relics. Only the French sources depict this, and it seems Edward in London was already suffering from his final illness, as he was too sick to attend the dedication of the brand new Westminster Abbey on the 28th December 1065, though only residing a few hundred yards away. He died aged around 62 on 4th January 1066 and Harold made sure he was crowned Harold II the next day to avoid any discussion of Edgar Aethling son of Edward the Exile and grandson of Edmund Ironside succeeding. Edward was known as "The Confessor" post-mortem for the nostalgia of his reign, as one of great foresight in his wise words, his secular enthusiasm, and perhaps holy chastity being childless. Reports of miraculous healings after 1066 soon emerged and his body buried in Westminster Abbey was found to be incorrupt as of 1102. He was therefore eventually canonized in 1161.

Huntingdon is situated on the River Ouse nearly 60 miles north of London. The Danes occupied and left some time in 917 and Edward the Elder rebuilt the castle, it was ravaged by the Danes again in 1010. The Norman castle was built by William I in 1086 and the earldom of Huntingdon was inherited by King David I of Scotland and granted to his son Henry in 1135. Minting activity here occurs perhaps as early as the reign of Eadwig, but certainly from Edgar to King Stephen.

Provenance:

Ex Mark Rasmussen Numismatist, Spring 2004, List 6, item 26.

Ex Spink Numismatic Circular, October 2012, item HS4863.

Ex Collection of Late Saxon Pennies, Mark Rasmussen Numismatist, Spring 2018, list 31, item S34.

Ex Collection of an English Doctor part II, Sovereign Rarities fixed price list online May 2022.

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