In the Reading series of tokens there are four halfpennies, one of which is heart-shaped, and fifty-nine farthings.
The name of the town is variously spelt by the issuers as follows:
37 times READING
10 times REDING
6 times READINGE
6 times REDDING
2 times READINE
1 time REDDEN
1 time REDIN
None of the Reading tokens, with the exception, perhaps, of the farthing of William Malthus, are at all commonly met with.
I much regret that the information regarding the families is so very scanty, but it is most difficult to obtain reliable or extensive information in a case where a large town consists of sundry parishes.
The Rev. J. M. Guilding, M.A., Vicar of St. Lawrence, Reading, when kindly trying to assist me, writes:
"This town consisted of three ancient parishes, and, therefore, to verify all the names given in your list by consulting the registers of the respective parishes would be impossible."
Dr. Joseph Stevens, of Reading, favours me with the following interesting account of a recent find of 17th century tokens in that town:
"There are 26 tokens in all found in the foundations of the 'Old Bull' Inn, and 23 of them were placed in my hand as taken from under the bricks in a corner of the building; and I am doubtful of only one of these--a 'cripple farthing of Andover, Remember the Poor'--the rest were all similar as regards the condition they were in (covered with a green patination). I examined the corner, and the brickwork, and there was a small hollow (cup-shaped) in which they were found. I was on the spot within ten minutes of their being discovered, and so optained some coarse brown ware, thickly glazed, of about the same period, from close by."
"List of 23 tokens found in left hand corner, on entering foundations of 'Old Bull' Inn, Broad Street, corner of Cross Street, November 17th, 1885:
1 WILLIAM LOVEGROVE 1664
1 CRIPPLE-FARTHING, ANDOVER
2 THOS. GRAPE WOKINGHAM
1 WILLIAM TAYLOR
1 WILLIAM BVRLY
1 ROBERT CREED
1 RICHARD BROWNE
1 SOL BARNARD
1 FRANCES BROWN
1 EDWARD PINNILL
1 MARY BLOWER
1 ROBERT SMART
1 THOS MACHIN (Apothecary)
1 ROBERT PIDGION
1 FRANCIS TASSELL (IN WOKINGHAM)
1 IOHN CLEMENTS (IN WOKINGHAM)
2 DANIELL MARTIN (IN WOKINGHAM)
1 IAMES BLVNT
1 IOHN HARRISON
"They are all farthings.
"The above are 22; the 23rd I mention separately, as being a rather remarkable farthing to fund under the circumstances, thus:
BICKONSFIELD THOMAS COCKLE Represented by a COCK
"Boyne gives, I see, perhaps the same coin (the only one for BEACONSFIELD), but spells the word BECKENSFIELD, and gives no emblem.
"Probably the contributors of the tokens were friends of the owner of the Bull or of the builder at the time."