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GM24285

William I Penny, Canopy type, Wallingford Mint, Moneyer Beorhtmaer

Regular price £2,000
Regular price Sale price £2,000

William I (1066-87),silver canopy type Penny (1070-72), Wallingford Mint, Moneyer Beorhtmaer, facing crowned bust to edge of coin under canopy supported by two pillars, legend surrounding commences lower left, +PILLELMVS RE,rev.annulet at centre of double quadrilateral with incurved sides, fleury at each apex, beaded circles and legend surrounding, +BRIHTMÆR ON PIIL, weight 1.24g (BMC type III cf.216; N.843; S.1252).Toned, a little weak in parts of legend, otherwise an attractive good very fine.

The obverse legend translates as "William King of the English" and the reverse as "Beorhtmaer of Wallingford."

Despite the transition from the Anglo-Saxon to the Norman period, numismatically the three-year change of coin types continued. The canopy type of William is the third of the seven types attributed to this reign. According to North the Wallingford Mint in Oxfordshire had up to nine moneyers active throughout the reigns of William the Conqueror and William Rufus, which is one of the lower numbers amongst the mint activity at this time. London was the main mint with up to 38 moneyers, with Lincoln second with up to 26 and Norwich third with up to 18.

North records up to nine moneyers working at Wallingford in all types.

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 14th October. 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.

Wallingford situated on the River Thames some 15 miles from Reading is mentioned in the Burghal Hidage and was burnt by the Danes in 1006 and attacked by Swein seven years later. During the anarchy Brian Fitzcount of the Angevin party was isolated in the castle here and may have struck coins here. He was besieged by Stephen three times in 1139, 1146 and 1153 and was eventually relieved by Henry of Anjou. The Empress Matilda escaped to Wallingford from Oxford in 1142. Minting activity occurs here from the reign of Aethelstan until Henry III.

Provenance:

Purchased from Spink and Son Ltd, 27th February 1967.

Ex Marvin Lessen, North York Moors Collection, part 2, 3rd July 2019, lot 371.

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

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