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Medieval Sourcebook:
William of Malmesbury:
Counterfeit Money in the Time of King Stephen, 1140


The extent to which good money could be debased under a bad king was sufficient to ruin the work of a man like Henry I. This temporary condition was remedied after "the nineteen long winters" by Henry II who took up the work of his grandfather, Henry I.

Dearth of money in Stephen's time, 1140: . . . Dearth of provisions, too, increased by degrees, and the scarcity of good money was so great, from its being counterfeited, that, sometimes out of ten or more shillings, hardly a dozen pence would be received. The king himself was reported to have ordered the weight of the penny, as established in King Henry's time, to be reduced, because, having exhausted the vast treasures of his predecessor, he was unable to provide for the expense of so many soldiers. All things, then, became venal in England; and churches and abbeys were no longer secretly, but even publicly exposed to sale.


Source.

From: J. A. Giles, ed., William of Malmesbury's Chronicle of the Kings of England, (London: H. G. Bohn, 1847), Book II, p. 511;reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, eds., A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), p. 139.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.


This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

© Paul Halsall, October 1998
halsall@murray.fordham.edu