Most people know the story of Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot, but fewer know about the connection it has to The Royal Mint.
Guy Fawkes was interrogated, and tortured, in the Queen’s House which is inside The Tower of London on Tower Green. Tower Green was the scene of many grisly events throughout history including the beheading of Ann Boleyn. At the time of Guy Fawke’s interrogation, The Royal Mint was located within the walls of the Tower of London. Today, The Royal Mint is based on a highly secure site at the small town of Llantrisant in South Wales.
Money at the time of Guy Fawkes
James I was king, and his coins included the Groat, the Sixpence, the Shilling, the halfcrown, the Crown, the Double Crown, the Spur Ryal, the Unite and the Rose Ryal.
James 1 discontinued what is now the Royal Mint’s most famous coin, The Sovereign, very shortly after coming to the throne, and he produced a new pound coin to replace it called the Unite.
Find out more about how money was made at the time on The Royal Mint Museum website
Other interesting Guy Fawkes facts
Guy Fawkes confessed to plotting to blow up parliament, and signed two confessions which many people claim reveal the extent to which he was tortured. You can view the original confession statements at the National Archives website
An intriguing curiosity that survives from the events of that fateful night is Guy Fawke’s lantern, which was donated to the Ashmolean gallery in 1641 by the son of the Justice of the Peace who arrested Guy Fawkes. View the lantern at the Ashmolean gallery website
There are several exhibits from The Royal Mint on display in the Tower of London, so if you’re lucky enough to get the chance to visit, check The Royal Mint Museum website first to find out what’s on
Guy Fawkes on the £2 coin
In 2005, to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot, The Royal Mint struck a commemorative Two Pound Coin.
The centre of the reverse has a circular arrangement of state, the mace, crosier and sword with the denomination ”TWO POUNDS” and the dates “1605” and “2005” with the edge inscription “REMEMBER, REMEMBER THE 5TH OF NOVEMBER”. The coin was designed by Peter Forster.
The obverse is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II designed by Ian Rank Broadley. These coins are legal tender and you may be lucky enough to find one in your change! Have you found one?