Volunteers Process Salisbury Trade Tokens


Most trade tokens date from periods where there was a lack of small denominations circulating in the country. Over time coins began to disappear (they still do) – lost in the fields (which is where metal detectorists tend to find them!), down cracks in shop floors or rooms in houses, in the muck of the stables and so on. People took much more care with silver or gold coins, for obvious reasons. Thus a situation could arise where the working people, or indeed anyone buying everyday items, such as bread, buttons, anything of little value, had nothing to pay with. There was no change available to be given for the larger denomination coins. Local businesses would, at that point, begin to make their own low value ‘coins’ or tokens, perhaps intended to be used in their own shops, to maintain customer ‘loyalty’, but locally they would eventually be accepted anywhere. Early examples were lead but by the sixteenth century they were usually of copper alloy, as small change coins are today – ‘coppers’.

Here we have some examples from the Portable Antiquities Scheme, processed by our Volunteers at The Salisbury Museum.

1 A Post Medieval copper-alloy trade token, dating to the period AD 1652-1670. It was issued by John Hancock, an apothecary in Salisbury. Obverse reads I H surrounded by stars and pellets in the centre of a beaded circle, and writing encompassing it, stating IOHN.HANCOCK.IN.NEW. The reverse depicts the bust of a Turk, encompassed by SARVM.APOTHECARY.

A better image from the British Museum is here:

2 An early Post-Medieval copper alloy 17th century halfpenny trade token of Salisbury. Measures 16mm, weighs 1.28g, die axis 6. The coin is exceedingly worn, legends all but lost, very small flan, appears to have been filed down. Obverse: Double-headed eagle displayed [FOR THE MAIOR OF THE 1659] Reverse: Crowned shield with the arms of the city [CITTY OF NEW SARVM]. This is a different example from the others on this page, having been authorised by the Mayor, not by a tradesman.

3 A complete Post-Medieval copper-alloy trade token farthing issued by Henry Mattershaw at Salisbury, dating to AD1658. May have been vintner.


4 A Post-Medieval copper alloy trader’s token halfpenny issued by Edward Fripp in Salisbury, dating to AD 1668. The lettering on this example allows us to see most of the words clearly.

5 A copper alloy farthing trade token dating to AD 1659 of George Godfrey a rat catcher in Salisbury. GOERGE . GODFREY on the obverse depicting a rat, IN SARVM 1659 on the reverse with G G in the centre. It looks a little like a rabbit, but we must assume it is a rat!

6 A copper alloy grocer’s arms halfpenny token dated AD 1796. CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF SARUM obverse depicting Salisbury Cathedral in relief. FINE TEAS &C 1796 reverse depicting the grocer’s arms with supporters. The legend around the edge is PAYABLE AT I & T SHARPES SALISBURY.

7 A copper alloy Post-Medieval farthing traders’ token issued by Richard Minife of Salisbury. Avid followers of this blog (!) may remember we have a snuff box belonging to the Minifie family. Click here.

8 An early Post-Medieval (1666) copper alloy halfpenny trade token of Thomas Haytor of Salisbury, measuring 20mm in diameter. It is worn and the edge damaged. Obverse: The Cordwainers’ Arms THOMAS.HAYTOR.OF.SARVM Reverse: T H HIS.HALFE.PENY.1666.

The Cordwainer’s (shoemaker’s) Arms (wikipedia)

This is a lovely way to get into local and family history. Collecting tokens has become an expensive business these days however….

Behind the Scene Tours



These have been taking place this month as promised, and in response to popular demand.

The first featured Stonehenge – or at least a model of it – in The Salisbury Museum collection. The model was made in the 1950s for a BBC TV programme investigating how the monument might have been built.

More recently, we have had a behind the scenes tour of The Salisbury Museum Rex Whistler archive. Director Adrian Green takes us to look at some of Rex Whistler’s earliest drawings and then his very varied work from the 1920s and 1930s, including sketchbooks, drawings for novels, scenes for plays.

There is a notebook from his time as a tank commander. Whistler was, of course, sadly killed while serving in Europe in the second world war.

Adrian’s favourites are Whistler’s drawings for an edition of Anderson’s ‘Fairy Tales and Legends’ – ‘The Emperor’s Clothes’, ‘What the Moon Saw’ and others.

As Adrian says, it is such a shame that we cannot display more. It is hoped to get more online as time goes by and to use Lottery Funds to find more space for display.

Some Interesting Talks


What is local History? The British Association for Local History has a number of very good talks available via its website, including others coming along, some hosted by other august institutions.

You might be tempted by ‘Bloomsbury Blues: Commemorative Plaques Around the University of London, an online tour’ hosted by the Institute of Historical Research, 5.30 – 7.30pm on Wednesday 28 October.

These are free, but you need to register

The Institute of Historical Research also has interesting talks. Find these here.

If anything positive has come out of the situation this year, one is the discovery of, and proliferation of, free online courses!

The comments on the Stonehenge Archer continue


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Charles Hostetler has responded to the Director’s information on the arrowheads that lie with the archer by writing:

“Thanks for your response; If I have further success with this topic I’ll relate the results to your Museum. Chuck Hostetler (USA)

PS Some members of my family hail from Cornwall….”

and our own Alan Crooks adds this:

“There is a fine collection of arrow heads and a diagram showing their evolution at Sudeley Castle”

Unfortunately we have not found anything further to share from Sudeley online.

Answers to Mary Crane’s second blue plaque quiz



Having given you plenty of time to go out and LOOK for the answers to the second blue plaque quiz, here they are….

Photos from thepuginsociety.co.uk

  1. Who designed St Osmond’ Catholic Church in Exeter Street? A.W.N PUGIN
  2. In which building in Catherine Street did violin maker Benjamin Banks live? NOW THE SAILOR’S SOCIETY SHOP
  3. What was the name of the ship that brought news of victory at the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Nelson, commemorated on a plaque at the rear of the Guildhall (Fish Row)? HM SCHOONER ‘PICKLE’ The Trafalgar Way website is well worth a look, for the full story, maps and background to the period.
  4. Which Sixties pop group has a plaque on the City Hall? DAVE DEE, DOZY, BEAKY, MICK AND TICH
  5. In which street was the site of the Arts Theatre and Salisbury Playhouse (1953 – 1976, featured in a recent blog)? FISHERTON STREET -BAILEY’S
  6. Which shop in High Street was formerly the Salisbury Assembly Rooms (1802 – 1960)? WATERSTONE’S
  7. What did Andrew B Middleton do that warranted his plaque in New Canal (also featured in a recent blog)? ERADICATED CHOLERA IN THE CITY BY CEARING OPEN DRAINS
  8. The Chapel Nightclub in Milford Street is on the site of the home of a portrait painter, some of whose paintings are in the Guildhall and Museum. His name? GEORGE BEARE (C1725 – 1749)
  9. Who was the founder of Methodism, who, together with eight Salisbury citizens, erected the first preaching house in the city in St Edmund’s Church Street? REV JOHN WESLEY
  10. The old fire station still exists and has FIRE STATION in red tiles above the door. Where is it? SALT LANE
  11. What institution met at 26 Endless Street between 1953 and 1974? SALISBURY AND WILTON RURAL DISTRICT COUNCIL
  12. There is a plaque near the High Street Gate commemorating John Marsh. What was his profession? COMPOSER, INSTRUMENTALIST, WRITER AND DIARIST
Dave Dee et al. Remember ‘Zabadac’? This photo is from Salisbury’s own ‘Wig and Quill’ where Beaky performed in 2017

Museum News


There is an interesting conversation to be had here about the colour of wedding dresses……

Planning ahead…

Our next Coffee and Conversation online session is on Tuesday 27th October at 11am until 12 noon. Rachel, who recently gave us a memorable talk about the Battle of Waterloo anniversary activities, 2015, will be chatting about recreating her version of a dress in the Salisbury Museum collection. The talk will last approximately 20 minutes with plenty of time for questions and chat after. If you fancy joining in, here is the link to the meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86345297401 Meeting ID: 86345297401

Passcode: 397904

You can also dial in on the phone using any of these numbers

+44 203 901 7895
+44 131 460 1196
 +44 203 051 2874
+44 203 481 5237
+44 203 481 5240

The Salisbury Museum Cafe

The Salisbury Museum Cafe now has an elegant marquee on the front drive and continues to welcome visitors every day 11am – 3pm. On a sunny autumn day it is also still pleasant to sit outside.


These Lego models are even more striking ‘in the flesh’. Well worth a visit.

Recent Comments


With particular reference to this recent article, Volunteer Maggie Hunter wrote:

HOW LIFE HAS CHANGED by Volunteer Alan Clarke

“Thank you for finding so many things to interest us during this miserable time.”

Volunteer Alan Crooks, a regular contributor, wrote, in response to one of our quiz questions:

“”…only 50 years after Alcock and Brown completed the first ever transatlantic flight, a man walked on the moon.” This reminded me of Jeanne Calment, a French woman who died in 1997 at the age of 122. She was aged 28 when the Wright brothers made the first powered flight and lived to see Man landing on the Moon. “

Jeanne Calment

Charles H Hostetler wrote:

THE STONEHENGE ARCHER by Volunteer Keith Rodger

Excellent narrative. Is there a “Common Name” in the UK, or Europe in general, for the Projectile Points recovered with the Archer ? They appear quite distinctive in the hafting area and are well made. (I’m involved in Archaeology in North America) .”

Director Adrian Green says “They are called ‘barbed and tanged arrowheads’ which date back to the Early Bronze Age.”



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A group of twelve met for today’s Volunteer ‘Coffee and Conversation’ session via Zoom. The coffee was in evidence and the conversation was very good.

Hosted by Rachel Coman, Volunteer Co-ordinator, we mostly recognised each other on screen, but it always good to fit a name to a face. After making sure that we knew where the mute button was, so that we didn’t accidently interrupt, Rachel, as promised, talked about her involvement with the two hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in 2015.

A ‘living history’ enthusiast since she was a teenager, when she initially somewhat reluctantly accompanied her younger brother who wanted to join a group, Rachel was lucky enough to be in the thick of it (literally) during the commemorations of 2015.


She explained that there had been a significant build-up prior to the trip to Belgium and the battlefield site there. In this country, the Waterloo enthusiasts had appeared in the Lord Mayor’s Show, and extensive practice – of drills, use of weapons, etc – had taken place throughout that summer. She said many of those involved lost a lot of weight because marching and ‘skirmishing’ in costume with packs and guns, provided much hard exercise.

It can be risky too. Bolting horses are as dangerous in re-enactments as they would be ‘for real’, and marshalling five thousand re-enactors on the battlefield must also have been almost as difficult as the real thing.

En route – Bruges

The action in Belgium lasted several days with 55 000 spectators each day. The ‘armies’, from several countries, camped, of course, and had quite a trek, in full costume, to get to the battlefield each day. And it was hot, with the soldiers not able to carry more than would have been possible in 1815. Dehydration was an issue. This is one way to study history!

Rachel was one of the first aiders. There was a limit to what she could do when one asthmatic soldier got as far as the battlefield, then decided he had left his inhaler in his tent some mikes away….

Most of the action was late in the day. Rachel mentioned how dramatic it was, in dying light, to see the cannon and gunshot. There was a lot of smoke and apparently some of the vast audience lost sight of what was going on! Very realistic, one imagines.

The ‘choreography’ for the battle was exacting because of course, it was important to get it right. Timing was the key to success.

Whole families join re-enactment or ‘living history’ groups, with everyone able to play a realistic part in things. Armies like those at Waterloo had a huge support network trailing in their wake – wagons of food and water and ammunition, cooks, people to look after the horses, the wounded, gunsmiths. Women in various roles. Even children.

It was clear from Rachel’s talk that the re-enactment in Belgium was ‘one of those experiences’. Something never to be forgotten. Royalty from a number of countries, including HRH Prince Charles, quite an historian himself, were there. Rachel was apparently quizzed by the Prince about being part of the ‘baggage train’ – an expression which originates from the battlefield, rather than the railways.

On her return journey, Rachel found herself stranded overnight in Lille while a demonstration temporarily closed the Channel Tunnel. Definitely one of those experiences… Thanks for sharing it all with us Rachel.

Helmets and Hats


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From museumcrush.com

This is the only Viking helmet to be found in the UK and only the second near-complete one to be found in the world.

It was found back in the 1950s by workmen digging trenches for sewage pipes in Yarm, North Yorkshire.

No horns!

This, however, is from a different era….

Photo: Salisbury Museum

This was discovered in a stream not far from Salisbury and processed for the Portable Antiquities Scheme by the then Finds Liaison Officer, Richard Henry.

He wrote:

An incomplete iron helmet of post-medieval date probably a English Civil War (AD 1630 – 1640) lobster pot helmet. The helmet is 200mm in surviving height and 210mm wide and 300mm in length.

Keith Dowen Assistant Curator of European Armour added this:

The helmet in question is known as a pot/pott, and was worn primarily by pikemen. By the time of the Civil Wars English musketeers had largely abandoned wearing helmets, though they continued to be worn on the Continent.

The key feature of this type of helmet is the shallow sloping brim with turned edge, the high combed skull and the line of lining rivets around the base of the skull. The brim would originally have continued all the way around the helmet and may also have had lining rivets running around the edge (the entire helmet, including the brim would have been lined with linen, hemp or cotton. The cheek-pieces are missing on this helmet but would have been suspended by leather straps which in turn were riveted to the skull (of the helmet).

The rivets typically consist of the rivet shank, a square washer on the interior face and sometimes a decorative copper-alloy washer on the exterior surface.

The helmet itself consists of two halves joined along the comb – by the 17th century two-piece, rather than one-piece helmets were the norm. Originally the helmet would probably have been left ‘rough from the hammer’, that is with hammer scale still adhering to the metal, and have a blackened finish (this would have provided a degree of protection against corrosion).

Based on the high skull and shallow brim the helmet is most likely Dutch, dating to c.1630-40, as opposed to the shallower broad-brimmed English examples. During the Civil Wars vast amounts of armour were imported from the Netherlands, so it is certainly not unusual to find a Continental helmet in an English context.

And now hats…. This is also an item recorded on the Portable Antiquities Scheme site by one of Salisbury Museum’s Vounteers:

An incomplete Modern cast lead novelty toy in the form of a human head (c 1820 – c 1925).

The object is sub-circular in plan and mostly oval in cross-section. The head is an apparently comic, ‘cheeky chappy’ type, with pronounced brows, large eyes with dots for pupils and a circular snub nose. The cheeks are accentuated by being raised out from below the eye sockets and above an open mouth. The lower jaw is missing. A semi-circular raised feature each side of the head represents ears. There is a rectangular slot running through the object which starts where the lower lip would be and finishes at the top of the head. This may originally have held a rectangular bar attached to the jaw which would have allowed the jaw to lift up and down, rather like a ventriloquists dummy. The back of the object has an incised pattern running from an approximately central pellet which divides the back of the head into eight equal parts and may represent the panels of a schoolboy cap. This would date the object to the later part of the suggested period.”

And a personal comment from Garry Crace, (also of the PAS) 7/10/2014

“Previously believed to be knife or dagger terminals these objects have now been identified as novelty toys. ‘Commonly made from cast Iron or a tin alloy such as pewter they therefore corrode very quickly in the ground and give the impression of some age. The jaw piece fitted into the recessed rectangular slot in the head and a small fulminate charge was placed in between the butting faces. When dropped on a hard surface they would explode with a load bang and the jaw piece would fly out. They were available with a variety of different heads some of which modelled famous personalities of the time”

History is never boring.

Please Join Us on Wednesday



A Date for your diary: Coffee and Conversation, Wednesday 14th October 11am-11.45 am via ZOOM

Click here for the link.

Meeting ID: 870 5122 8790

Passcode: 660343

OR join in on your phone!

United Kingdom+44 203 901 7895
+44 131 460 1196
 +44 203 051 2874
+44 203 481 5237
+44 203 481 5240

It is hoped to make this a regular, fortnightly, meeting with a theme each time. This week, Volunteer Co-ordinator Rachel Coman will tell us about her interest and involvement in Living History, specifically the Battle of Waterloo.

As we all get used to this medium, such meetings could possibly become opportunities for Volunteers to share ideas, and would become a way of keeping in touch during what could be a tricky winter.

If you are not familiar with Zoom, be assured it is very straightforward. You do not have to be seen on camera (you will be shown that you can cut out the camera), and you do not have to speak. If we are invited to talk it is possible to join in by using speech ‘bubbles’. Indeed, it is usual to be asked to mute microphones so that there is no accidental off-stage noise! Try it.