OXON-C3A60B: Post-medieval token: Lead token

Rights Holder: Oxfordshire County Council
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Unique ID: OXON-C3A60B

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

A worn cast lead alloy token or tally of post-medieval date. The token bears the faint remains of a raised design of a grid pattern on one side and an abstract pattern on the other. Lead tokens had a wide variety of potential uses such as use as tallies, gaming pieces, weights, etc. and are believed to have been locally produced; they are therefore difficult to date precisely. Those carrying initials are generally deemed to be Post Medieval in date (c. AD 1500 - 1850), although this example is likely to be 17th century in date.

It has been suggested that grid designs may represent ploughing lines. The pattern on the reverse, at first glance seemingly abstract, appears to be a representation of a plough, with stars above, presumably a reference to the constallation Ursa Major. If this is the case, then this would be the first example of such - grids are not uncommon on lead tokens but depictions of machinary are very uncommon (windmill sails are known). A grid paired with a plough strongly supports the theory that grids represent plough lines in the fields, as well as indicating an agricultural transaction use for such tokens rather than i.e. game pieces. Lead tokens may well have been used in a similar way to more modern hop tokens, where workers were 'paid' in tokens which could be redeemmed locally for services or food.

Comparisons are being sought and more research is underway.

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: Include in PostMedArch

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1600
Date to: Circa AD 1800

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Thickness: 1.4 mm
Weight: 1.8 g
Diameter: 16.4 mm

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Miss Anni Byard
Identified by: Miss Anni Byard

Other reference numbers

Other reference: OXPAS2018.502

Materials and construction

Primary material: Lead Alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Complete

Numismatic data

No numismatic data has been recorded for this coin yet.

Spatial metadata

Region: East Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Northamptonshire (County)
District: South Northamptonshire (District)
Parish or ward: Warkworth (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SP4840
Four figure Latitude: 52.05631184
Four figure longitude: -1.30135692
1:25K map: SP4840
1:10K map: SP44SE
Grid reference source: From a paper map
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: OXON
Created: 4 months ago
Updated: 4 months ago

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