One of the lesser impacts of the English Civil War (1642–1651) was that low denomination coinage had become scarce and much debased.  After King Charles I’s death, production of coins was no longer a Royal prerogative and across the country merchants and traders stepped in to address this shortage by producing their own tokens, which could be redeemed at their face value at their premises.

Benjamin Orwell was a grocer on High St and one of only two manufacturers of trade tokens in Great Chesterford, the other being John Housden.  This one farthing token has on the face side the name Benjamin Orwell around the outside and the date 1667 in the centre.  The other side (obverse) has Great Chesterford around the outside and the letters B O M (meaning unknown) in the centre.

In 1667 an agricultural labourer would have earned about 12 old pennies per day or 48 farthings.

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Categories: Artefact
Tags: farthing, Housden, Orwell, Token, trade