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GM24298

Henry I cut Halfpenny, Profile / Cross fleury type, Norwich Mint, Moneyer Oter

Henry I (1100-35), silver cut Halfpenny, profile / cross fleury type (c.1102), Norwich Mint, moneyer Oter, bottom third of bust visible and RIC of legend, rev. half of cross fleury within beaded circle, start and finish of legend, +OTE----PI, weight 0.58g (BMC type II; N.858; S.1263A). Toned good very fine.

The legends translate as "Henry" on obverse and "Oter of Norwich" on the reverse.

North records up to 19 moneyers working at London for Henry I across all types except 6 and 8.

The fourth son of William the Conqueror, the "fine scholar" Henry Beauclerc as he was known acceded to the throne of England on the death of his childless elder brother William Rufus, who died after a hunting accident in the New Forest on 2nd August 1100. Well educated Henry had been left landless when his Father died with the Kingdoms shared between the two eldest surviving brothers Robert and William, though he did purchase the county of Cotentin from his eldest brother Robert in western Normandy, but was later deposed from there in 1091, and subsequently, gradually rebuilt his power there with the help of elder brother William against Robert. Upon the death of William Rufus, and being present in the area at that time, he immediately became King promising to correct the less popular policies of his late brother. Henry married Matilda of Scotland with whom he had a son William Aethling and a daughter the Empress Matilda, as well as various other illegitimate children. His elder brother Robert invaded in 1101 disputing Henry's control, but this was settled by a pact recognising Henry as King of England. Henry later invaded Normandy in 1105 and 1106 defeating Robert eventually in the Battle of Tinchebray imprisoning his brother until his death on 3rd February 1134 in Cardiff Castle. Henry then controlled Normandy for which he was subsequently challenged by Robert's son William Clito who was supported by Fulk V of Anjou, Baldwin VII of Flanders and Louis VI of France, resulting in major rebellions within the Duchy from 1116-19. Eventually a peace settlement was agreed in 1120 after Henry's victory at the Battle of Bremule.

Henry was an effective leader who drew his nobles and barons close whilst using the government justice and taxation systems to the best effect boosting the Royal Exchequer, along with Normandy and its own independent system. He also encouraged ecclesiastical reform playing a major role in selecting senior clergy, though he did have a serious earlier dispute with Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury in 1101 eventually resolved through a compromise in 1105. Unfortunately, Henry's son and heir apparent William drowned in the White Ship sinking disaster of 1120 and Henry entered a second marriage in the hope of another son, but the union with Adeliza of Louvain remained childless. He therefore declared Matilda his heir and married her to Geoffrey of Anjou in 1128 but the relationship between them all became strained with fighting along the Anjou border. Henry subsequently died on 1st December 1135 after a week of illness and despite his plan for succession it was Stephen of Blois his nephew that succeeded him which led to a Civil War.

Norwich is situated 100 miles north north-east of London in East Anglia on the River Tud near the junction with the River Yare. In 1004 it was sacked and burnt by the Danish Swein but resisted a much later attack in 1069. The Norman knight Roger Bigod Earl of East Anglia siezed the castle in 1087 and later in 1136 during the anarchy the castle was again seized by his descendent Hugh Bigod. The holy See of the Bishop of East Anglia was transferred there from Thetford in 1094/5 with minting rights and one moneyer at Norwich. Minting activity occurs here from the reign of Aethelstan until Henry III, except for the reign of Eadwig.

Provenance:

Found in ground 1992 and sold to Dr. William J Conte, USA.

Purchased from Dr Conte 1993.

Ex Marvin Lessen, North York Moors Collection, part 2, 3rd July 2019, lot 389

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

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