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17th Century Tokens : Brighthelmstone in Sussex

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

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W29: Sussex, Brighthelmstone (Now Brighton) (Uncertain): (1660)
O  I A B
R  1660
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John Brooker is described in the Court Rolls in 1692 as "piscator," and was the fourth out of five generations bearing the same Christian name and surname. He was baptized at Brighton in 1617, and buried there in 1698. At the same place in 1656 he married Margaret Wood, but she had died prior to 1692, in which year he surrenders his copyhold property to the use of himself for life; next to his wife Mary for life; then to James Brooker, of Brighthelmstone, cooper, for life; and afterwards to James Brooker, aged nine, son of before-mentioned James Brooker. His will, dated 1688, was proved at Lewes in 1698.
W30: Sussex, Brighthelmstone (Now Brighton) (Farthing): (Date Unknown)
O  A still
R  H E F
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Henry forster is no doubt to be indentified with the person of this name who in 1674 was one of the witnesses to the will of Captain Nicholas Tettersell, in whose vessel Charles II escaped to the Continent in 1651. (See S. A. C. xxxii. 100.) If this conjecture be correct, the token throws an interesting light on the history of the Old Ship Hotel (the oldest inn in Brighton), and shows that Tettersell not only owned the "Old Ship," but kept it also, sending for Forster, his distiller, to witness his will. At a Court Baron held for Brighthelmstone Manor on October 22, 1708, the death of Mary, wife of Henry Forster, and daughter of Peter Marden, is presented, and Samuel Forster, her youngest son, admitted tenant according to the custom of the manor.
W31: Sussex, Brighthelmstone (Now Brighton) (Uncertain): (Date Unknown)
O  Arms of Gunter of Racton: three sinister gantlets
R  I G
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The name of a John Gunter appears in the Subsidy Roll of 1621 as of this place. He was probably father to the issuer.

A branch of the Gunter family of Racton had been settled at Brighton from the early part of the seventeenth century, if not earlier. John Gunter occurs in the Subsidy 1621 (S. A. C. ix. 78), and was admitted to a cottage in North Street, Brighton, in 1624. At a court held for the manor April 1, 1677, his death (in 1666) was presented, and his youngest son, Edmund, admitted as customary heir. The issuer was no doubt an elder son, John Gunter, who died about 1669, leaving a widow, Elizabeth, a son John, and two daughters, Susanna Burton, wife of James Burton, and Mary Freeland. The widow at some date between 1670 and 1674 married Captain Nicholas Tettersell. (See S. A. C. xxxii. 100 and 101.) It is perhaps more than a mere coincidence that Colonel Gunter, of Racton, arranged with Tettersell for the escape of Charles II. (Ib. 83.)

W32: Sussex, Brighthelmstone (Now Brighton) (Farthing): (Date Unknown)
O  A ship
R  I G P
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Amongst the signatures to a petition of the "Fishermen Inhabitantes of the distressed Towne of Brighthelmstone" to Parliament, dated March 4, 1609, occurs "John Pearsey" (Harl. MS., No. 6,838, p. 216). At the Halimote Court for Brighthelmstone Manor on August 20, 1659, we find "John Pearsey the elder" amonst the homage, but on August 26, 1668, at another court, the death of John Peirsey is presented, and Gabriel his youngest son admitted. John Peersy (the issuer) was probably the elder son of the before-named, and in conjunction with his wife Elizabeth, at a court held for the manor on August 21, 1671, surrendered his "shop and land under the Cliffe near Eastgate to the use of Henry Peirsy, third son of the said John and Elizabeth." The "MS. Records of the Society of Friends (volume 'Friends' Sufferings') for the S.E. District" contain the following interesting note relating to him:

"1659.--In this yeare allso Nicholas Beard for speaking to a Priest after he had done his Sermon was haled out of the Steeplehouse of Brighthelmston by John Persy, Robert Baker and others of the Towne by the hair of the head and Evilly entreated amonst them, for bareling Witness against their Worship being mixed with men's Traditions, and Not according to the Scriptures of Truth or Commands of Christ.

"It is observable allso Notwithstanding the Rage and fury of the Inhabitants of that Towne, against all friends to Truth, yet the Truth was Stronger and could not be hindred from Takeing Root in the hearts of some of them, Particularly John Persy Who was a Principall Actor in what is before Related, who came in Some time after to be Convinced and Dyed int he yeare 1679 and was Buryed among friends in their Burying ground at Rottingdean" (pp. 30 and 31).

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