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17th Century Tokens : Bear_Alley-Bell_Yard in Southwark

W Numbers refer to Williamson's  Trade Tokens Issued in the Seventeenth Century in England, Wales and Ireland, (1891)

See also other Counties issuing 17th Century Tokens

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W152: Southwark, Bear Alley and Quay (Farthing): (Date Unknown)
O  A bear
PHILLIP STOWER AT
R  P S S
THE BEARE AT BARE KEY P S S
Image not available
These two tokens [151, a halfpenny, and 152] were evidently issued by persons dwelling near to the celebrated Bear Inn alluded to under Nos. 288 and 289. The celebrity of the peal at St Savior, says Dr Rendle, may have made the sign of the Bell popular. About the church itself, Smith, in his Book for a Rainy Day, tells us how he meets the eccentric waterman, George Heath, who says, "I was a famous ringer in my youth at St Mary Overies. They are beautiful bells." This was the man whom Charles Matthews the elder introduced into his entertainment under the pseudonym of Joe Hatch. Bear Alley is marked on a Record Office map of about 1542.
W153: Southwark, Bell Yard (Farthing): (Date Unknown)
O  A fox
ANDRA RANOLS IN BELL
R  A M R
YARD IN SOVTHWARKE A M R
Image not available
Chaucer, wishing to make known to us the gathering place of his pilgrims to Canterbury, tells us it was "in Southwerk at this gentil hostelrie that highte the Tabard faste by the Bell." the Bell being apparently at that time a better known inn. In 1577 mention is made of the inn in the depositions of a man who brings an action for the loss of a money-bag, and states "That he was in the house of one John Woodward, called the signe of the Bell, and did inne there." The Bell figures as an important landmark "from the Bell towards Waverley House," which had been the town-house of the Abbot of Waverley, near Farnham. Bell Yard in 1637 was a place of dwelling for poor people and had twenty tenements. The token is the only pictorial record we have of the inn that was metioned by Chaucer. The fox on it is apparently a rebus, Renols quasi Reynard. --[R. and N., 293.] The Bell has long since disappeared. Both Tabard and Bell are marked on Rocque's map of 1746.

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