James II, 1685-88

Key Events

 1685 James succeeds his brother, Charles II.
 1685 Rebellion of the Earl of Argyll in Scotland designed to place the Duke of Monmouth, Charles II’s illegitimate son, on the throne is crushed and Argyll is executed.
 1685 The Duke of Monmouth rebels against James, but is defeated at the Battle of Sedgemoor in Somerset.
 1685 Edict of Nantes allowing freedom of religion to Huguenot Protestants is revoked in France, resulting in thousands of Huguenot craft workers and traders settling in England.
 1686 Following their defeat at Sedgemoor, Monmouth and many of the rebels are hanged or transported by the ‘The Bloody Assizes’ under Judge Jeffreys.
 1686 James takes first measures to restore Catholicism in England, and sets up a standing army of 13,000 troops at Hounslow to overawe nearby London.
 1686 Edmund Halley draws the first meteorological map showing weather systems
 1687 Isaac Newton publishes Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
 1688 James, believing his Divine Right as King, issues the Declaration of Indulgence to suspend all laws against Catholics and Non-Conformists and repeal the 1673 Test Act. He seeks to promote his Catholic supporters in Parliament and purge Tories and Anglican clergy .
 1688 James’ wife, Mary of Modena, gives birth to a son and Catholic heir. His daughters Mary, married to Dutch Stadtholder William of Orange, and Anne by his first wife Anne Hyde are Protestant.
 1688 Following discontent over James attempts to control politics and religion, seven leading statesmen invite William of Orange, son-in-law of James, to England to restore English liberties.
 1688 The ‘Glorious Revolution’. William of Orange lands at Torbay with an army of 20,000 and advances on London. Many Protestant officers in James’ army including Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, and James’ own daughter Anne defect to support William and his wife Mary.
 1688 James abdicates and flees to exile in France.

Coins

1686 Halfcrown SECVNDO

S. 3408 Bull 749 ESC 494

Ex DNW Auction January 2020 Lot 214

Slabbed and graded LCGS 55 (NEF)

1687 Crown TERTIO

S. 3407 Bull 743 ESC 78

1690 (May) ‘Gun Money’ Half Crown

Gun money was an issue of coins made by the forces of James II during the Williamite War in Ireland between 1689 and 1691. They were minted in base metal (copper, brass or pewter), and were designed to be redeemed for silver coins following a victory by James II and consequently bore the date in months to allow a gradual replacement. As James lost the war, that replacement never took place, although the coins were allowed to circulate at much reduced values before the copper coinage was resumed. They were mostly withdrawn from circulation in the early 18th century.

The name “gun money” stems from the idea that they were minted from melted down guns. However, many other brass objects, such as church bells, were also used.

There were two issues. The first “large” issue consisted of sixpences, shillings and half crowns. The second, “small” issue consisted of shillings, half crowns and crowns (5 shillings). Some of the second issue were over-struck on large issue pieces, with shillings struck over sixpences, half crowns on shillings and crowns on half crowns. The most notable feature of the coins is the date, because the month of striking was also included. This was so that after the war (in the event of James’ victory), soldiers would be able to claim interest on their wages, which had been withheld from proper payment for so long.

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A collection of predominantly English coins from the Tudor era to the present day

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