Broad Street Wrington HISTORY
A Penny for 'em
by Paul Twynam, from September, 2001 Village Journal

July 2001. A tractor comes down Sutton Lane, passes Lye Hole Cottage and has to pull in to
let a car go by. Its wheels clip the bank under the hedge
and dislodge a piece of history.

A copper penny. Just over 1 1/2" in diameter and weighing almost 3/4 oz. On the reverse the inscription "Britannia" above the famous figure and, on the obverse, the king's head with the inscription "George III D(ei)G(ratia) REX" (by God's grace, king) and the date, 1807.

This type of coinage was replaced by the "new" coinage of Queen Victoria in 1860; so it's likely the penny had been lost for 140, but maybe as much as 190 years. In the period 1800 to 1815 an agricultural labourer earned about £40 a year, so this penny represented
about 20 minutes' labour. These days
the going rate would be about 365 times more.

Interesting, but not worth a great deal and no sign of a huge treasure hoard waiting to be discovered! But how did it get there? Lost in the hedge, fallen through a hole in
someone's pocket?

Lye Hole Cottage always belonged to Lye Hole Farm; in the early nineteenth century it was
referred to as "the Washing Pool" or "at the Buddles". Lye
Hole is supposed to be corruption
of Leigh Hole - signifying a clearing in
a wood. But "Lye", "Washing Pool" and "Buddles" all give a linguistic link to the dyeing trade. Nearby in Butcombe, Redding Pit Lane gets its name from the same industry.

Lye Hole Farm still has a field called "Uddles"
where a spring rises which flows into Lye Hole
brook. Of course, it was,
and remains, a working farm; in the 1800s probably mixed, with dairying a mainstay.

Records show that in 1807 the farm was tenanted by John Taylor and in 1817 by William Day. His descendants included the Bodys which, for those that remember that far back, was the maiden name of Lizzie Shepherd's mother.

Lye Hole Cottage was, like Dingly Dell and Holly Lodge, a tied cottage for the farm labourers.

So whose penny was it? Did John Taylor toss it to a carter taking dyestuff to market in Bedminster? Did William Day pay it to his cowman? Did some foolish village boy take the "King's Shilling" to fight at Trafalgar and was that penny the only money that ever got home to his grieving mother?

Was it part of a payment to a Young or a Stallard for a sow in pig? Did some child from Pump Lane take it to Mrs Saunders (no relation, we think) to pay for her schooling?

Of course, I'll never know whose penny it was but I bet I know one of their relatives! Funny how a little lump of copper can make you think.

Paul Twynam