All About the Money

In July 1855 the Western Times reported that an old halfpenny had been found in a garden adjoining the town of Ashburton. It was inscribed Taunton 1657.
Western Times 28 July 1855, p7 col4

'The tokens of Devonshire are numerous. Three towns issued nearly half the number, namely Exeter 57, Plymouth 24 and Tiverton 18; they are principally farthings. Town pieces were struck by Ashburton, Axminster (?), Bideford, Dartmouth, Moreton Hampstead and Torrington.
1. O[bverse].  AN. ASHBVRTON. HALFE. PENNY. 1670 (In 6 lines)
R[everse]. (no legend) - a church, sun, crescent, branch with acorns* and a saltire; the Arms of Ashburton.


3. A variety has the Queen's head crowned, in place of the Initials.
Tokens issued in the 17th century in England, Wales and Ireland, William Boyne, London 1858, p48
*This would actually have been a teasel

In 1817 a notice in the Exeter Flying Post announced a list of places where the new silver coin of the realm would be exchanged for the old. In Ashburton the coins could be exchanged at Brown and Co.
Exeter Flying Post 20 February 1817 p1 col2

Throughout this site there are references to the money used in this country before decimalisation in 1971. Below is a short explanation of some of the coins in the 19th and 20th centuries.


A pound, written as £1 or occasionally 1l*, could be in paper form or, for most of the period, could be a gold sovereign, as shown in the top row.

There were 20 shillings in one pound (middle coin middle row), and one shilling was written as 1s or 1/-

There were 240 pennies in one pound (bottom row extreme left), and one penny was written as 1d

Half a penny was a halfpenny, and a quarter of a penny was a farthing (middle coin bottom row).

There was even at one time a half farthing (bottom row right).

The coin on the extreme left of the middle row is a half-crown, worth 2s 6d (2/6d) (See G B Soper's price ticket in the 1940s section of the Virtual museum). There was for most of this period also a crown, worth 5s (5/-)

Next to it is a two shilling piece, or florin.

Then comes the shilling, and next to it is a sixpence.

The middle row extreme right shows a silver threepenny bit.


For examples of what things cost in the middle of the 19th century, see Prices at Ashburton market, November 1848, in the Markets and fairs sub-section of Gathering together.

For finding out how costs compared with 2005 prices go to


 * 'Witness had borrowed 20l from a Mr Tucker....' Report in The London Standard 27 July 1859 p2 col5

Many thanks to the owner of the above coins (who wishes to remain anonymous) for allowing me to photograph them.

See also


 Above: A bill for work done at Holne Park by Mr George Eales in 1880. The total comes to £1 8s

From my own collection