On This Day: 23 September 1701

On this day in 1701, Maximilian Western of London sent his bill the Captain Thomas Bowrey and I should dearly love to tell you more about it but I cannot. The goods, delivered to John Packman at Woolwich, cost a total of £202/2/26 and comprised minion, falkon and falknett. Western offered a 15% discount.

I have been unable to discover what minion, falkon and falknett were, the price makes no sense and neither Western nor Packman can be found anywhere else in Bowrey’s papers. The bill does not say what type of tradesman Western was.

I am conscious that many readers of this blog will not have understood the monetary sums I have used at times and, thus, not understand why £202/2/26 makes no sense. So, with apologies for those of you who do not require a lesson in pre-decimal currency, since 15 February 1971 the United Kingdom has used decimal currency. Before then, our currency was expressed in pounds, shillings and (old) pence. There were 12 pence in a shilling and twenty shillings in a pound. 10 pounds, 9 shillings and 8 pence would have been written £10/9/8. £202/2/26 would equate to 202 pounds, 2 shillings and 26 pence. 26 pence was 2 shillings and 2 pence and the amount should have been written £202/4/2.

4 thoughts on “On This Day: 23 September 1701

  1. Christine (above) is quite correct – Minion being, I believe, an Anglicisation of the french ‘mignon’. The falconet was also a light cannon; thus it seems reasonable to infer that a falcon was similar but a bit larger. Concerning the ’26d’, two possibilities occur to me. The ‘6’ may in fact be a poorly written ‘d’; or possibly the ‘2’ was written in error, following the other 2s in the amount, and has in fact been struck through, but this correction has faded over time. Re-examination of the original document may suggest if either of these is correct.


  2. Christine and Robin

    Many thanks for the explanations.

    Robin, I have checked the image again and it is definitely a “6” and not a “d”. The ink is extremely clear, not faded at all over the years so I am certain that the 2 has not been crossed through. Looking at the document again, there are many figures over 12 in the pence column. Had it not been dated “London” and the goods delivered at Woolwich, I would have assumed that it was in Fort St George Pagodas or some other currency.

    I really appreciate your input as it is o nice to know that someone is out there reading what I write.



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