17th-Century Farthing Trade Tokens
Tokens were issued in Cheshire at a much later date than most other counties, the earliest being after the
Restoration; and none were issued by any of the towns in their corporate or other capacity.
this series, though small in number, is remarkable for the large proportion of pennies--a characteristic of the tokens of the neighbouring counties of the Principality of Wales.
It appears that the cheshire issuers continued to circulate their previously issued tokens, despite the prohibitory proclamation; for in 1674 Government proceedings were commenced against the offenders. They thereupon memorialised Sir William Williams, then Member for Chester, and afterwards Speaker of the House of Commons, who interceded with the law officers of the Crown, and had proceedings stayed on condition that the offenders at once conformed to the law.
Some of the legends on the tokens of this county are curious. Thomas Cotton of Middlewich has on a heart-shaped token, "ALTHOVGH BVT BRASS, YET LET ME PASS." Francis Swindell of Macclesfield has on a square token, "SQVARE DEALINGE IS BEST." Sam Endon of the same town has "WELCOM YOV BE TO TRADE WTH ME." Punning devices are also found; we have the following examples: John Salmon of Chester, three salmon hauriant; and William Snead of Chester, a snead or scythe. Loyal sentiments also appear: Richard Briscoe of Chester has the Royal Oak crowned; Thomas Baker of Chester, a lion rampant; Ralph Burrows of Chester, a crown; and Ralph Leigh of Knutsford, a lion rampant.
Crests or family arms are sometimes displayed; Samuel Elcocke of Chester, Will. Hewitt of Chester, Robert Radford of Chester, John Salmon of Chester, William Snead of Chester, Peter Stringer of Chester, John Travers of Chester, Richard Cotton of Congleton, and Elizabeth Price of Nantwich, have each the crest or arms of their family represented on their respective tokens.
The arms of the City of Chester are represented on the tokens issued by Robert Hewitt of Chester, James Knowsley of Chester, and Thomas Simpson of Chester. The arms of the City of London are represented on the token issued by John Andrews of Stockport. The arms of the Incorporated Trade Companies or Guilds of the City of London, or some part thereof, are also extensively exhibited; we have the following examples: The Bakers' on the token issued by Nathenel Beard of Middlewich; the Butchers' on the token issued by Robbart Wihither of Chester; the Feltmakers' on the token issued by Thomas Welch of Congleton; the Grocers' on the tokens issued by Roger Brereton of Chester, Robert Hewitt of Chester, Richard Eaton of Congleton. James Johnson of Knutsford, Francis Swindell of Macclesfield, and John Andrews of Stockport; the Haberdashers' on the token issued by John Salmon of Chester; the Innholders' on the tokens issued by Robert Fletcher, William Harvey, and Richard Mynshall of Chester; the Ironmongers' on the tokens issued by Ralph Hocknell of Chester, Henry Williams of Chester, and Thomas Jackson of Nantwich; the Mercers' on the tokens issued by Philip Antrobus of Knutsford, Nathaniell Poole of Macclesfield, Edward Wood of Macclesfield, George B........ of Nantwich, Daniel Jackson of Nantwich, Margaret Nicholson of Stockport, Ralph and Elizabeth Nicholson of Stockport; and the Tallowchandlers' on the token issued by James Hutchinson of Chester.
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