All collections » Tokens » Norwich Castle Halfpenny
The front side depicts Norwich Castle. Circular
inscription: "NORWICH CASTLE."
The reverse side depicts the Golden Fleece. Circular inscription: "GOOD TIMES WILL COME. MDCCXCIV." (Better times will come. 1794).
Engraver Wyon, manufacturer Kempson. 1 cwts released.
The token was issued as a small change by Richard Bacon, a printer, bookseller, auctioneer and appraiser based at 12 Cokey Lane.
Norwich Castle was built by William the Conqueror (William the Conqueror 1066–1087) in the eastern part of England as a strategic fortification. The county palace next to the castle was built a year before the issue of the token, in 1793. For three centuries, from 1738 to 1969, there was a large cattle market, mainly sheep, near the castle.Norwich Castle and cattle market. Jarrold's Official Guide to Norwich (1900)
Norwich is one of the oldest manufacturing cities in England, producing raw sheep's wool even before the Norman Conquest, and the Flemings who settled during the reign of King Edward III (Edward III, 1312-1377) made Norwich one of the richest cities in the kingdom.
In 1783, a year before the issue of the token, the city celebrated the Jubilee of the Woolers, honoring Bishop Blaise and the Golden Fleece. The procession was preceded by musicians and the emblem of the Golden Fleece, accompanied by Hercules, Peace, Prosperity, and the British flag, accompanied by 40 Argonauts on horseback. Four people carried Fleece on a richly decorated palanquin, followed by Orpheus, then Jason rode on a chaise drawn by four horses, accompanied by Castor and Pollux. Behind them followed Bishop Blaise, in full episcopal garb, crowned with a miter, skillfully made of wool, in an open wagon drawn by six, accompanied by a chaplain, ecclesiastical banner-bearers, city banners, shepherds and shepherdesses, and several orators who delivered speeches in every street. Seven gangs of wool-cutters closed the procession on foot, and five more rode behind them on horseback.
The legend "GOOD TIMES WILL COME" (Better times will come) refers to recent defeats in military conflicts and fear of a possible invasion, the revolutionary ideas of the population and the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act (Habeas Corpus Act).
Edge lettering options:
12. RICHARD BACON COCKEY LANE
12a. PAYABLE AT DALLYS CHICHESTER
12b. PAYABLE AT CHARLES HEATHS BAY MAKER COLCHESTER . x.
12c. PAYABLE AT THE WAREHOUSE OF D. WRIGHT & S. PALMER
12d. CURRENT EVERY WHERE
12f. Plain (not in collar)
13. RICHARD BACON COCKEY LANE
13a. PAYABLE AT THE WAREHOUSE OF THOMAS CLARKE
13b. PAYABLE AT SOUTH SHIELDS AND LONDON. X
13c. CURRENT EVERY WHERE
13d. EMSWORTH HALFPENNY. PAYABLE BY IOHN STRIDE
13e. Plain (not in collar)
The variety of edge inscriptions suggests that this combination of stamps was used by several different customers to produce tokens for their needs.