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
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
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
Lye Hole Cottage always belonged to Lye Hole Farm; in the early nineteenth century it was
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.