PUBLIC-DBB474: Post-medieval token: halfpenny token issued for the King's Head, Quendon Street (probably)

Rights Holder: Richard Gibson
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Unique ID: PUBLIC-DBB474

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A post-medieval copper-alloy 17th-century token halfpenny probably issued by Hugo Bradiford of Rickling, Essex. See Williamson (1967, 228) Essex no. 255 (attributed to Quendon), see Thompson (1988, Pl. XXI) no. 1340, dated 1669 (on token).

It measures 20.16 mm in diameter and weighs 1.58 g

This has been marked as a Find of Note due to diligent research by the finder. They have proposed an issuer, namely Hugo Bradiford, who is not identified in the usual sources, an establishment for which this token was produced, namely The King's Head inn, and a precision regarding the place of issue (see Notes, below). They note that the bust of Charles II is a likely rebus for an inn called the King's Head, which was situated on Quendon Street in the parish of Rickling. However, it is noted that no tokens seem to name Rickling as such as a place of issue.


The following sources support the claim that this token was issued at Rickling (rather than Quendon) and was probably issued by the owner of the King's Head, which is likely to have been Hugo Bradiford.

(1) Essex Record Office D/DYj 11: A lease of 1707, for the inn called the King's Head on Quendon Street in the parish of Rickling.

(2) The late 1600s satirical almanac Poor Robin, which is believed to have been written by William Winstanley, a local resident (an individual of that name issued a token dated 1669 depciting the Drapers' Arms (Williamson Essex no. 256)). In 1678 in Poor Robin's Perambulation from Saffron Walden to London, &c. the King's Head in Rickling Quenden-street is mentioned:

We having din'd, and join'd a pint or two,
Then forwards on my Journey I did go.
And first I came unto a Town called Rickling,
Where for to stay a while I made no stickling,
But presently in at the Kings-head fell,
Where of Compounding Dick I there heard tell,
To whom if that it please you to resort ye,
He for a hundred pound will mortgage forty
Shillings a year, nor do you think I jest,
It's very true indeed, probatum est.
Or lend him lesser sums, which if you do,
For twenty Shillings he will pay you two;
Not two and twenty Shillings, no such plenty,
I mean he'l pay you two Shillings for twenty;
Pray lend him then, and this shall be your portion,
You shall not need fear being su'd for extortion.
From the Kings-head I out of doors scarce went,
But was in Quenden-street incontinent;
Of many a handsome Country-House the station,
It seems to be a little Corporation,
Yet are the Houses not so neat as strong,
And doth most to one Gentleman belong.
For nothing on it can you look asquint,
Unless cause there is ne're an Ale-house in't.
Good air, brave Woods, and fine rich Meadow-ground,
And doth with every sort of Grain abound.
The young men there do bear the Bell away
From all the Towns about at Foot-ball play.

(3) The 1670 Essex Hearth Tax (see:, a Hugo Bradiford was taxed on five hearths in the parish of Rickling. This was the joint second largest hearth count of the parish and is consistent with either a large residence or an inn. He is the only person listed for either Rickling or Quendon whose initials are H B.

The parishes of Rickling and Quendon are now merged. However, prior to the 1920s, the parishes were distinct and divided by Quendon Street. The King's Head public house is marked on the early OS maps on the west side of the road. It is likely that the old boundary between parishes was down the middle of the road; the buildings on the west side being in Rickling and those on the east side in Quendon. The inn is now a private house called the Old King's Head.

Assuming the evidence is accepted, this halfpenny token should be re-categorised as originating from Rickling rather than Quendon (or under the modern merged parish of Quendon and Rickling).

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: County / local importance

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL
Date from: Exactly AD 1669
Date to: Exactly AD 1669

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Weight: 1.58 g
Diameter: 20.16 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Thursday 31st December 2015

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Richard Gibson
Identified by: Mr Richard Gibson

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Struck or hammered
Completeness: Complete

Jetton/ token data

Denomination: Token halfpenny
Obverse description: Initials: . B . / H . E, mullet stops either side of B and below H E, all within beaded circle; legend without
Obverse inscription: HIS . HALF . PENY . 1669
Reverse description: Crowned bust of King Charles II facing left within beaded circle; legend without.
Reverse inscription: IN . QVENDEN . STREET
Degree of wear: Worn: fine

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Hertfordshire (County)
District: East Hertfordshire (District)
To be known as: near Bishop's Stortford

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: GPS (from the finder)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: PUBLIC
Created: 2 years ago
Updated: About one year ago

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