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Castle forged penny set to sell at auction for £10,000

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 12, 2014

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A PENNY dating back 850 years and forged at an historic East Staffordshire castle is set to sell at auction for £10,000.

The silver penny dates back from the reign of King Stephen and a chaotic period of civil war and will be sold at auction in London on April 2.

It was found in a field near Nottingham but its history has been traced back to Tutbury Castle, historians had previously been unaware that the site had been used to mint coins.

“This is an extraordinary discovery,” said Christopher Webb, head of the coins department at specialist auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb.

“It is tremendously exciting.

“This is generally believed to be a type issued by Robert de Ferrers, second Earl of Derby, in the early 1140s, at a time when royal control had all but broken down.

“It is clearly related to a group of die-duplicates struck at Derby by the same moneyer.

The de Ferrers’ family seat was Tutbury Castle and it is therefore not surprising that Walchelin would have been employed there for a short time.

“Walchelin was actually a family name and it may well be that the moneyer was a family member.

“Tutbury was unknown as a mint in the reign of Stephen until the discovery of this new coin in a field.”

The man who found the coin was searching a field near Nottingham, with the farmer’s permission last November. .

At the time royal control in England had all but broken down and King Stephen –who reigned from 1135 to 1154 – was fighting a bitter civil war, later known as The Anarchy, with his cousin Matilda over who should have the throne.

As the central authorities were not producing sufficient coinage, barons such as the Earl of Derby stepped in to provide currency. The penny was believed to have been struck at Tutbury Castle, the home of the Earl.

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