The Coiners & Coining



A coiner is anyone who produces counterfeit coinage

This Foldout looks at some aspects of the coiners and coining:

Coining

The practice of producing counterfeit coins had long been carried out.

From 1561, it was a crime of Misprision of Treason to manufacture counterfeit foreign coins. For anyone forging British coins, the charge was High Treason, and the punishment for this was:

This punishment was later modified and in many cases, the offenders were executed by hanging at the Tyburn. Some were taken down after execution and put into chains and hung on Beacon Hill for all to see – the bodies remaining there for several months.

The edges of coins had been milled since 1662 in order to deter the clipping or filing of silver and gold coins, but this was not sufficient to prevent the practice. In 1662, a number of people in Halifax were involved in the production of counterfeit copper tokens.

In the spring of 1681, 13 men from the village of Stock, near Skipton, were tried at York for clipping coins.

In 1688, the Rev Edmund Robinson of Holmfirth and his son, Ben, were found to be coyning at Bank End, their house outside the town. The father was tried and hanged at York, but the son was acquitted and was later given work at the Royal Mint.

Birmingham was known for the production of counterfeit coins, and the word brummagem meaning cheap and showy, or counterfeit, originates from that time.

The Lothersdale district, near Keighley, was known as Beggars' Valley on account of the coining there.

In December 1843, several people were charged at Leeds with counterfeiting offences: John MacMellin was imprisoned for 8 months with hard labour; Ann Green [27] was transported for 10 years; Elizabeth Blackburn [48] was imprisoned for 6 months with hard labour;

The Halifax Coiners

Brothers William Burnley and John Burnley were mentioned as coiners in 1500, and James Waterhouse and Lawrence Holdsworth are recorded in 1530. In 1662, several Halifax parishioners coined copper tokens.

Around 1760, several gangs in upper Calderdale were involved in the production of counterfeit coins.

There was a list of about 80 coiners: 30 of them from Cragg Vale, 20 from Sowerby, 15 from Halifax, 7 from Wadsworth, and 6 from Warley and Midgley.

The gangs paid a high price for a good genuine gold or silver coin, then clipped the edges, and finally they filed the old coin to produce a new edge before returning it into circulation. The resultant shavings were melted down to make copies of foreign coins, such as French Louis d'ors, Portuguese moidores, Spanish pistoles and other foreign gold coins which – because of a shortage of English coinage – were legal tender and were widely circulated in England at that time – the Methuen Treaty [1703].

The Cragg Vale coiners concentrated their efforts on reproducing the 1772 Portuguese 4,000 reis coin.

In 1835, constable John Brierley discovered a set of dies which the coiners used to manufacture such coins.

Typically, a guinea coin would be reduced in value by 2/6d to 4/6d, although extreme examples of 5/3d or 5/4d are recorded. David Hartley is said to have paid 20/- for the use of 20 guinea coins for half an hour.

A report at the time says that

Almost every woolcomber in the north keeps a file for that purpose

People from all levels of society were involved in the trade. Many well-known, wealthy and respected local families were involved indirectly in coining, supplying gold coins to the coiners, in return for a share in the profits. In 1769, Joseph Hanson, the Deputy Constable of Halifax and innkeeper of the Upper George Inn, Halifax, was arrested on charges of coining.

The geography of Calderdale – with its remote farms and cottages providing a good look-out – and the fact that it was a busy trading centre, made the area an ideal location for this yellow trade – producing and passing off such fraudulent coinage – at a time when the official money of the kingdom was distrusted and the legally required weight for used coins was less than that of new ones. Britain's foreign wars also meant that little official time and money was available for issue and renewal of British currency. The Industrial Revolution placed a further strain on the coinage system as more workers required payment in cash, rather than kind.

The British government's attention was first drawn to the situation in 1767 when a Halifax man – Daniel Greenwood – was arrested in Hamburg for clipping Danish coins. Under the assumption that he had most likely offended in England, HM Customs and Excise followed his trail to the Calder Valley.

The most famous gang was the Cragg Vale Coiners and their leader David Hartley. They met at a drinking place – known as Barbary's – at Mytholmroyd where they plotted the murder of the exciseman William Deighton who was looking into the scandal. Deighton was murdered near his home in Bull Close Lane, Halifax on 10th November 1769 by Matthew Normington and Robert Thomas. He had been shot twice, once in the head, and had then been robbed, kicked and trampled.

In 1771, Abraham Ingham was overheard in the Union Cross, Heptonstall saying that he knew who had murdered William Deighton, and a gang of Coiners promptly threw him on to the fire – and poured burning coals down his breeches – killing him.

Because of confused evidence and other factors, most of the Coiners were acquitted of Deighton's murder, but others – including David Hartley – were sentenced and hanged in a series of trials 1769-1774.

It was reported that nearly £3½ million pounds' worth of unlawfully diminished gold coin had been paid into the Bank at the Mint, and that this had been reduced in value by around 9%

References to the Coiners

The following entries are relevant to the Coiners and their activities



Bacchus Lodge, Halifax
Bacchus Tavern, Halifax
Barbary's, Mytholmroyd
Blue Ball, Soyland
Jonathan Boulton

Clipping
Cragg Vale Coiners
Cross Pipes, Halifax
Cross Pipes, Rishworth

William Deighton
Dusty Miller, Mytholmroyd

Hinchliffe Arms, Cragg Vale
Holder Stones, Stoodley
Hoo  Hole, Cragg Vale

Viscount Irwin

Francis  Alexander Leyland
Abraham Lumb



Murder Stone, Mytholmroyd

Matthew Normington

Old Cock, Halifax

Christopher  Rawson

Spread Eagle, Halifax
Joshua  Stancliffe

Turvin coiners
Tyburn, York

Union Cross, Heptonstall
Upper George Hotel & Posting House, Halifax

Charles Watson-Wentworth

Yellow Trade
 

A List of Coiners



Bob  Ardell

John  Barker
Peter  Barker
William  Barker
William  Barrett
Jonathan  Barrowclough
James  Bates
John  Bates
John  Bolton
Jonas  Bolton
Jonathan  Bolton
James  Broadbent
Joseph  Broadbent
Thomas  Broadbent
James  Brook
John  Burnley
William  Burnley

Thomas  Calvert
John  Cawthrey
Thomas  Clayton
Thomas  Clayton
William  Clayton
Charles  Clegg
Richard  Clegg
John  Cockroft
James  Crabtree
Thomas  Crampton
Mr  Crossley
Mr  Crossley
Mr  Crossley
Abraham  Crossley
Ely  Crossley
John  Crossley
John  Crowther
Crowther  o' Badger

Isaac  Dewhurst
Luke  Dewhurst
Thomas  Dewhurst
William  Dowies
Duke  of Edinburgh
Duke  of York

Jonas  Eastwood
James  Edwards

John  Feather
William  Folds
Foul  Peter

James  Gassed
Joseph  Gelder
James  Green
Walter  Green
Daniel  Greenwood



Daniel  Greenwood
David  Greenwood
John  Greenwood
Thomas  Greenwood

William  Hailey
Joseph  Hanson
William  Harpur
John  Heap
John  Turley Heap
Daniel  Helliwell
James  Helliwell
Matthew  Hepworth
Ely  Hill
John  Hill
Lawrence  Holdsworth
Sam  Holdsworth
Joseph  Holmes
George Holt
Nathan  Horsfall
Joseph  Houldsworth

John  Ibbetson
Abraham  Ingham
Robert  Iredale

James  Jagger

Abraham  Kershaw
Alexander  Kershaw
James  Kershaw
King David

John  Law
Mark  Law
William  Law
Thomas  Lightowller
Richard  Liley
John  Lister
Joshua  Lister
Abraham  Lum

Stephen Marton
James  Milner
Stephen  Morton
Thomas  Murgatroyd

Mary  Newall
Benjamin  Nunco

George  O'Smith
James  Oldfield

John  Parker
John  Pickles
Mrs  Mary Pickles
Thomas  Pickles



James  Procter
William  Procter

John  Radcliffe
John  Radcliffe
Thomas  Radcliffe
William  Radcliffe
Rev  Edmund Robinson

James  Saltonstall
John  Saltonstall
Joshua  Sharp
James  Shaw
Joseph  Shaw
Joshua  Shaw
George  Shipley
Christopher Singleton
John  Sladdin
Henry Smelt
Thomas  Speak
John  Spencer
Thomas  Spencer
James  Stansfield
Thomas  Stansfield
Joseph  Stell
Thomas  Sunderland
Anthony  Sutcliffe
Benjamin  Sutcliffe
John  Sutcliffe
Richard  Sutcliffe
Thomas  Sutcliffe
William  Sykes

John  Tatham
Paul  Taylor
Robert  Thomas
William  Thomas
George  Thompson
Jonas  Tillotson
Robert  Tommis

John  Uttley

Thomas  Varley
William  Varley

Thomas  Waid
Robert  Walsh
Thomas  Westerman
James  Whiteley
John  Wilcock
William  Wilcock
Israel  Wilde
Abel  Wilkinson
John  Wood
Luke  Wood
Robert  Woodhead

Others involved in Coining

The following people were involved as Coiners, their Victims, or Informers Local individuals who were involved in coining included:



Bob  Ardell

John  Barker
Peter  Barker
William  Barker
William  Barrett
Jonathan  Barrowclough
James  Bates
John  Bates
John  Bolton
Jonas  Bolton
Jonathan  Bolton
James  Broadbent
Joseph  Broadbent
Thomas  Broadbent
James  Brook
John  Burnley
William  Burnley

Thomas  Calvert
John  Cawthrey
Thomas  Clayton
Thomas  Clayton
William  Clayton
Charles  Clegg
Richard  Clegg
John  Cockroft
James  Crabtree
Thomas  Crampton
Mr  Crossley
Mr  Crossley
Mr  Crossley
Abraham  Crossley
Ely  Crossley
John  Crossley
John  Crowther
Crowther  o' Badger

Isaac  Dewhurst
Luke  Dewhurst
Thomas  Dewhurst
William  Dowies
Duke  of Edinburgh
Duke  of York

Jonas  Eastwood
James  Edwards

John  Feather
William  Folds
Foul  Peter

James  Gassed
Joseph  Gelder
James  Green
Walter  Green
Daniel  Greenwood



Daniel  Greenwood
David  Greenwood
John  Greenwood
Thomas  Greenwood

William  Hailey
Joseph  Hanson
William  Harpur
John  Heap
John  Turley Heap
Daniel  Helliwell
James  Helliwell
Matthew  Hepworth
Ely  Hill
John  Hill
Lawrence  Holdsworth
Sam  Holdsworth
Joseph  Holmes
George Holt
Nathan  Horsfall
Joseph  Houldsworth

John  Ibbetson
Abraham  Ingham
Robert  Iredale

James  Jagger

Abraham  Kershaw
Alexander  Kershaw
James  Kershaw
King David

John  Law
Mark  Law
William  Law
Thomas  Lightowller
Richard  Liley
John  Lister
Joshua  Lister
Abraham  Lum

Stephen Marton
James  Milner
Stephen  Morton
Thomas  Murgatroyd

Mary  Newall
Benjamin  Nunco

George  O'Smith
James  Oldfield

John  Parker
John  Pickles
Mrs  Mary Pickles
Thomas  Pickles



James  Procter
William  Procter

John  Radcliffe
John  Radcliffe
Thomas  Radcliffe
William  Radcliffe
Rev  Edmund Robinson

James  Saltonstall
John  Saltonstall
Joshua  Sharp
James  Shaw
Joseph  Shaw
Joshua  Shaw
George  Shipley
Christopher Singleton
John  Sladdin
Henry Smelt
Thomas  Speak
John  Spencer
Thomas  Spencer
James  Stansfield
Thomas  Stansfield
Joseph  Stell
Thomas  Sunderland
Anthony  Sutcliffe
Benjamin  Sutcliffe
John  Sutcliffe
Richard  Sutcliffe
Thomas  Sutcliffe
William  Sykes

John  Tatham
Paul  Taylor
Robert  Thomas
William  Thomas
George  Thompson
Jonas  Tillotson
Robert  Tommis

John  Uttley

Thomas  Varley
William  Varley

Thomas  Waid
Robert  Walsh
Thomas  Westerman
James  Whiteley
John  Wilcock
William  Wilcock
Israel  Wilde
Abel  Wilkinson
John  Wood
Luke  Wood
Robert  Woodhead

Others were:




© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 14:15 / 7th September 2021 / 41035

Page Ref: MMC146

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