Gold angel of Henry VII found in Derbyshire

DENO-C5A99E: Medieval coin: angel of Henry VII
Gold angel of Henry VII from near Ashbourne (DENO-C5A99E). Copyright: Derby Museums Trust. Licence: CC BY

This gold medieval angel of Henry VII was recently found by a detectorists near Ashbourne (DENO-C5A99E). Henry VII, also known as Henry Tudor, was born in 1457 at Pembroke Castle in Wales. He was the son of Margaret Beaufort, a descendent of John of Gaunt, and Edmund Tudor, half-brother to King Henry VI. His mother gave birth to him when she was only thirteen years old. His father died whilst he was still very young and he spent much of his childhood in exile abroad with his uncle Jasper Tudor. In 1485 Henry Tudor returned to England to challenge his distant cousin King Richard III for the throne and defeated him at the Battle of Bosworth Field. His victory ended the rule of the Plantagenets and ushered in a new dynasty, the Tudors. During his reign he was a shrewd and frugal King, and implemented reforms in areas such as taxation. He married Richard’s niece Elizabeth of York, thereby securing peace between the rival factions of the royal family and ending the decades-long Wars of the Roses. Their eldest son, Arthur, died aged only fifteen in 1502, and their other son Henry succeeded his father upon his death in 1509, becoming the soon-to-be infamous King Henry VIII.

The angel was a type of medieval English gold coin, based on the French angelot. It was introduced in 1465 by King Edward IV, elder brother of Richard III. He also introduced the half-angel in 1472. The name is taken from its depiction of the archangel Michael slaying a dragon on the obverse. The reverse portrays a ship with a cross for a mast. This coin was minted in London. The reverse has been double struck, meaning it was stamped twice by accident.