Harold II Godwinesson AD 1066 Silver Penny Pax type, Sudbury


Code: GS479

Harold II AD 1066 Silver Penny Pax type

Crowned bust left with sceptre/PAX across field

Folcwine / Sudbury

Rare mint

S1186; Braintree number BT105

The Braintree Hoard

This coin is a part of the Braintree Hoard which was found by two detectorists in 2019/2020 on a cultivated field near Braintree, Essex.

The friends were out detecting in late September 2019 when they got a signal, digging down four inches revealed a silver penny. Half a dozen more turned up in a 30-metre radius and that evening they realised they were rare pennies of Harold II. Over the next few days around 70 more were found by slow and methodical use of the detectors. This was repeated in 2020 when the field was next available to search with another 70 coins uncovered.

The hoard

The hoard comprised 144 coins in total from the last two Anglo-Saxon kings of England – Edward the Confessor and Harold II Godwinsson. The absence of coins of William I suggest the coins were buried before 1066. It is clearly a possibility that their retrieval was prevented by the events at Hastings in that year.

An unusual feature of the hoard is that it contained two Byzantine coins.

The find was reported as treasure and recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme (Reference ESS-1CFF0B ).  Colchester Museum and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge decided to buy 16 coins between them from the hoard, including the two 11th century Byzantine coins. The remainder were disclaimed and returned to the finders.

Harold II ‘Godwinson’ (6th of January 1066-14th of October 1066): The last Anglo-Saxon king of England, Harold was the son of Earl Godwin of Wessex – Edward the Confessor’s right-hand man. Though Godwin and his family fell out of favour with Edward during the early 1050’s, this was but a temporary setback. His father died in 1053, and Harold took up the mantle as Earl of Wessex – assisting Edward greatly in driving back the Welsh and calming the northern border with Scotland. In 1066 Edward died, naming Harold his successor on his deathbed. However, he had previously favoured William of Normandy – causing the latter to prepare for invasion to defend his ‘right’. Arguably the most famous part of Harold’s short reign is its last month. Marching north to confront an invasion force assembled by the Danish king Harald Hardrada and his own traitor brother, Harold won a spectacular victory at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. However, William of Normandy landed on the south coast shortly afterwards, and he was forced to march back down the length of the country with a tired and depleted force. The decisive moment came on the 14th of October 1066 at the Battle of Hastings, where despite a terrific struggle Harold’s forces were defeated by William – an event famously depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry. Harold was killed during the battle, and the throne subsequently passed to William – who became William I of England.

Lewes in East Sussex 43 miles south of London is mentioned in the Burghal Hidage with its castle guarding the pass through the South Downs, while a priory was established there in the reign of William I. Minting activity here first occurs in the reign of Aethelstan and then from Edgar to Henry II.

Out of stock

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