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Silver production and the money supply in England and Wales, 1086–c.1500

Silver production and the money supply in England and Wales, 1086–c.1500

By Martin Allen

Economic History Review, Vol.64, 1 (2011)

Abstract: The contribution of English and Welsh lead mines to the silver supplies of mints between Domesday Book and the end of the fifteenth century is assessed in this article, comparing evidence for the size of silver production with mint output data. It is shown that the proposal that northern Pennine mines were the principal source of the silver in the late twelfth-century English currency is untenable. Welsh mines supplied limited amounts of silver to local mints around 1200. Devon silver made a significant but not predominant contribution to mint output at times of bullion scarcity in the 1290s and the mid-fifteenth century. Imported silver was usually a greater source of the metal in the English currency than locally mined silver, and gold coins constituted most of England’s money supply from the mid-fourteenth century onwards.

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