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GM25846

William I Penny, Bonnet type, Northampton Mint, moneyer Saewine

William I (1066-87), silver Bonnet type Penny (1068-70?), Northampton Mint, Moneyer Saewine, facing crowned and diademed bust with two fillets to edge of coin, Latin legend and beaded circles surrounding both sides, +PILLELMV REX, rev. pellet in annulet at centre of voided cross, terminals of pellet with crescent each sides, pellet topped piles in angle, Latin legend and beaded border surrounding, +SÆPINE ON NOÐ, weight 1.13g (BNJ XX plate V, no.3 this coin; N.842; S.1251). Toned weak in parts, good very fine.

The Latin legends translate as "William King" on obverse and "Saewine of Northampton" on the reverse.

We note that North records up to four moneyers working at Northampton in this reign. For further reading see the BNJ volume cited above and article by W. C. Well "The Northampton and Southampton Mints" part III, pages 63-94. This coin and one other in William Wells collection were decisive in proving Saewine was working at Northampton and not connected to Southampton (p.83 of article)

The first Norman King of England, William the Conqueror born around 1028 was the son of Robert I of Normandy and Herleya. A descendant of Rollo, William became Duke of Normandy in 1035, he subsequently married Matilda of Flanders in the 1050s ensuring a powerful ally in that neighbouring region. After a protracted struggle and quashing rebellions, his hold over Normandy was eventually secure by 1060 and with appointment of supporting abbots and bishops in the Norman church, and he subsequently secured the region of Maine in 1062. William's first cousin once removed was the childless Edward the Confessor of England and from this family connection and that Edward had previously told him he would succeed, he assumed a claim to the throne of England over Harold Godwinson, who Edward had named as his successor on his deathbed in January 1066. William also claimed that Harold previously had promised the throne to him in the event of succession, Harold having sworn over holy relics in William's presence as depicted in the Bayeux tapestry. William therefore built up a powerful invasion force to cross the channel and fight for the right to rule England as of September 1066. He landed at Pevensey Bay and after setting up camp with a basic fort at Hastings he marched north to meet Harold at Senlac Hill at Battle, East Sussex on the 14thOctober. A battle raged for most of the day, with at one point a rumour spread that William was slain resulting in him having to remove his helmet and reveal he was alive and fighting, boosting the morale of the Normans for the final onslaught in which Harold perished, either from an arrow in the eye or cut down by a horseman. William then went on a military tour to put down local uprisings leading to his crowning in Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day. He made arrangements in London for governance for whenever he would be in Normandy, and by 1075 his hold on England was almost complete with many forts and castles constructed. His later years involved quelling other uprisings in Europe and difficulty with his eldest son Robert Curthose, but his most famous achievement in England was the preparation of the Domesday Book in 1086; a survey of the land and the land-owners and nobles within it, listing pre-conquest and current holders at that time. William died in September 1087 leading a campaign in northern France and was buried at Caen. Normandy was given to eldest son Robert, with England given to his next surviving son William Rufus.

Northampton is a town on the River Nene 29 miles east of Warwick in the Midlands. The Danes wintered there in the year 917 and subsequently submitted without a fight to Edward the Elder who later built a fort on the south bank of the river. The Viking Anlaf besieged the town unsuccessfully in 941, but the town was later burnt in 1010 by the Danes, and was later seized by the York army in 1065. William the Conqueror built a castle there in 1068 and later Earl Simon of Northampton was a supporter of King Stephen fighting for him at the battle of Lincoln. The castle was besieged for two weeks by the insurgent Barons in 1215. Minting activity occurs from the reign of Eadwig until Henry III.

Provenance:

Ex William Charles Wells Collection, purchased by A. H. Baldwin 1949.

Ex Baldwin of St James, Auction 5, 15th May 2017, lot 1079.

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