The object of the present
work is to bring together the documentary evidence relating to the
Coinage of Scotland.
Upwards of seven hundred and seventy records and papers are given, of
which more than five hundred and fifty have never been printed before.
They have been selected from the Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland,
the Records of the Privy Council, the Acts of the Lords of Council, the
Exchequer Rolls, the Accounts of the Lord Treasurer, the Registers,
Warrants, and Accounts of the Cunyie House preserved in the General
Register House, Edinburgh, and the Miscellaneous MSS. and Papers bearing
on the History of the Scottish Mint deposited in the Public Record
Office, London, the Libraries of the British Museum, the Faculty of
Advocates and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, the Collections of
MSS. at Oxford, and several private libraries and charter rooms.
The papers are printed without abridgment. When contractions are used
the words have been given in full; proper names have been printed with
capitals, and punctuation has occasionally been added in some of the
earlier records where the sense was obscure. With these exceptions the
documents are printed exactly as they are found in the original MSS.
The Acts of Parliament are taken from the Record Edition, and I am
indebted (among many other acts of kindness in connection with this
work) to the late Professor Cosmo Innes for giving me access to the
Index and to the additional volumes of the Acts, which have not yet been
published. The other documents, of which the originals exist in
Scotland, either in public or private collections of MSS., are printed
from copies made with his usual care and accuracy by Mr Walter Macleod,
and the proofs again collated with, and corrected from the originals.
The papers, of which the MSS. are not in Scotland, are printed from
copies supplied by the official custodiers of the documents, to whom I
take this opportunity of returning my thanks for their great trouble and
unvarying attention to the demands made on them for information.
While giving much curious information on questions affecting early trade
and commerce, these records will be found to furnish data which will
enable numismatists to make several important changes in the
appropriations of the Scottish Coins.
The entry in the Chronicle of Melrose (Introd. p. cvii.), shows
conclusively that the change of type in the early Sterlings, from the
short to the long double cross, had taken place and was a matter
considered worthy of notice by the Monkish chronicler two years before
the death of Alexander II. The appropriation of the St Andrew (PI. III.
fig. 10) to James I. has already been doubted, for numismatic reasons,
by two such excellent judges'" as the Rev. Mr Pollexfen and Mr E. Burns,
F.S.A. Scot. (to both of whom I have been much indebted during the
progress of this work), and their doubt is fully confirmed by the
records. It is probable that the small copper coins usually assigned to
James IV. (PI. III. fig. 23) were first struck under the authority of
the Act of 1466. The undated Coinages of Mary and James YI. are now
arranged in their proper chronological sequence. The Coinage of 1581
(PI. VIII. figs. 10, 11, 12, 13), is shown to have no connection with
the Thistle Dollar set (PI. VIII. figs. 7, 8). The Coins issued between
1605 and 1610 (PI. X. figs. 16, 17, 18, PI. XI. figs. 1, 2, 3), are for
the first time restored to the Scottish series. The Farthing Tokens (PI.
XII. fig. 16) were issued in the reign of Charles I. The early issue of
Half Merk, Forty and Twenty Penny Pieces (PI. XII. figs. 17, 18, 19), is
distinguished from the later Coinage (PI. XIII. figs. 12, 13, 14) of the
same value. The Three Shilling and Two Shilling Pieces (PI. XIII. figs.
15, 16) are now shown to be a separate coinage. The Turners (PI. XIII.
fig. 17.) were minted in the reign of Charles I. The supposed Half
Testoon of Mary (Lindsay, PI. VIII. fig. 180), the Jetton of 1553 with
the monogram (Lindsay, PI. VIII. fig. 181), the Jetton with M (Lindsay,
PI. VIII. fig. 182), and the supposed Bawbee of Mary (Cardonnel, Billon
PI. I. fig. 19), were never intended for currency. The supposed Quarter
Testoon of 1558-59 (Lindsay, PI. VIII. fig. 189) was not issued in
standard Silver. It is now certain that the sixteenth of the Thistle
Merk (Lindsay, p. 59, 1st Supp. p. 5), was never minted. Many of the
rare gold pieces figured by' Lindsay were pattern pieces, and were never
in common circulation.
Much new information regarding the standard legal weights and values of
the various coins will be found in the Records. While every endeavour
has been made to search all sources where it was likely that original
documents relative to the Scottish Coinage might be found not only in
Great Britain but in most of the public libraries and in several private
collections in Northern Europe, it is possible that documents may yet be
discovered which will throw light on some points that are still obscure.
I shall always be glad to have any such brought under my notice.
With regard to the Plates, it is necessary to state that they are only
intended to illustrate the Coinages noticed in the “ Records.” I have
endeavoured, as far as possible, to figure Coins from public cabinets,
where the originals can always be seen; and I take this opportunity of
thanking the Trustees of the British Museum and the Council of the
Society of Antiquaries of Scotland for permission to use, for this
purpose, the Coins in the National Collections, and also Messrs R.
Carfrac, F.S.A. Scot.; J. Wingate, F.S.A. Scot.; Ford, and Gray, for
kindly allowing me access to their cabinets for specimens which were not
in the public museums.
I am also very particularly indebted to Mr Stuart Poole and the
gentlemen connected with the Medal Department in the British Museum, for
the great assistance I have received from them. In particular, my thanks
are due to Mr C. F. Keary for selecting the various specimens from the
Museum collection and superintending the arrangement of the Plates.
I have great pleasure in recording the fact, that during the course of a
tolerably lengthened investigation, involving applications for
permission to examine documents and papers in the private possession of
many with whom I had no personal acquaintance, and on whom I had no
possible claim beyond the fact that I was searching for matter connected
with an historical object, I have not met with a single refusal; but, on
the contrary, every facility has been afforded to me, and often very
great trouble has been taken in searching charter-rooms, though in many
cases with very small result. For the liberal access which was given me
by the Earl of Hopetoun and his guardians, to the extensive and
extremely valuable series of papers connected with the Scottish Mint at
Hopetoun House (the most important of which are given in the present
work), I am deeply indebted. Lady Cumming-Gordon most kindly permitted
me to print the exceedingly interesting papers preserved at Gordonstoun,
which throw complete light on a point hitherto very obscure.
In conclusion, I have to perform the pleasing duty of thanking those who
assisted me in the execution of this work. My best acknowledgments are
due to Mr Thomas Dickson, Curator of the Historical Department of H.M.
General Register House, for the great help he has most ungrudgingly
given me during the long time I have been engaged in collecting
materials. His able advice and active assistance were ever ready when
required, and his intimate knowledge of the vast stores of unprinted
materials under his charge was always most kindly and freely
communicated. To the Reports of Dr John Stuart, to H.M. Commissioners on
Historical MSS., I am also highly indebted for indicating many sources
where documents, likely to be of use, might be found. The late Mr E. W.
Robertson, whose early death is justly lamented by all the students of
Scottish history, was good enough to revise, and approve of, the
conclusions I had arrived at with regard to the early weights and
standards of the Scottish Mint, and supplied me with many curious and
interesting memoranda on the subject.
The Hon. C. W. Fremantle, Deputy-Master of H.M. Mint, most obligingly
gave me access to the extensive and very valuable collection of
Numismatic works contained in the Library of the Royal Mint. To M.
Delisle and M. Henri Cohen of the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; M.
Sudre, Keeper of the Archives of the National Mint of France; M. Herbst,
Copenhagen; Mr R. Sim of the British Museum; the Rev. H. 0. Coxe,
Bodleian Library, Oxford; the Rev. H. Latham, M.A., Vice-Master of
Trinity Hall, Cambridge; the Rev. F. L. Hopkins, M.A., Cambridge; the
late Mr Hill Jamieson, Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh; Mr Small, M.A.,
University Library, Edinburgh; Mr George Sim, F.S.A. Scot; Mr Joseph
Anderson, Museum of Antiquaries of Scotland, Edinburgh; Mr James Grant,
M.A., Edinburgh; the Rev. Professor Dickson, D.D., University Library,
Glasgow; and Professor Young, M.D., Keeper of the Hunterian Museum,
Glasgow; I am much indebted for assisting me in my researches for
unpublished MSS. connected with the history of the Scottish Mint. Mr H.
W. Henfrey communicated to me an interesting notice regarding Scottish
Coinage from the Entry Book (No. 106) of the Protector’s Council of
State. Mr W. H. Henderson took much trouble in answering my queries
regarding the provincial coinages at Linlithgow. I am also indebted to
the Rev. Charles Rogers for information as to the mint at Stirling.
I hope the materials gathered together may prove of some use to those
interested in the subject.
R. W. COCHRAN-PATRICK.
Ayrshire, N.B., Oct. 1876.
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