Object in Focus - Sixpence

a shiny light colour circular coin shows the profile of Elizabeth the first

This Elizabethan silver sixpence was found at Berkhamsted Place. From the date on the reverse, it was minted in 1600, at the end of Elizabeth I’s reign (she died in 1603). In 1600 a sixpence could have bought you several pots of ale; the equivalent in today's money is £3.50.

Berkhamsted Place was an English country house which was built sometime around 1580 from stones removed from Berkhamsted Castle. Its owner was Sir Edward Carey, the queen’s Keeper of the Jewels. He constructed a two-storey mansion in the shape of the letter E on top of the hill, overlooking the ruined castle. Carey didn't stay there long and leased the house to his brother. Over time, several notable people stayed in the house, including the future Kings Charles I and George V and Prime Minister William Gladstone.

By 1963 the house was no longer occupied and became derelict and was finally demolished in 1967. Today, the site is occupied by a number of private cottages and a farm.


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