The Economic History Review

The English monetary economy, c. 973–1100: the contribution of single‐finds1

Volume 66 Issue 1
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Pages: 198-225Authors: RORY NAISMITH
Published online: April 12, 2012DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0289.2011.00650.x

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A body of nearly 2,000 English finds of individual coins minted c. 973-1100 is surveyed as evidence for the scale and form of the monetary economy. A long-term view indicates that this was a period of expansion in coin use, although growth in this area remained limited compared to the later middle ages, or even the eighth century. Within the eleventh century single-finds suggest more specific developments, including a decline in coin use after the Norman Conquest, and substantial short-term fluctuations related to various economic and monetary factors. Comparison with estimates of coin production suggests a general trend for more of mints’ output to enter domestic circulation after c. 1030/40, though this need not solely reflect an increase in monetization. These chronological changes are compared with the pattern of circulation within England. Overall, the kingdom enjoyed a unified currency which did not see marked localization of coin circulation. Parts of northern England were less integrated with the south, but not so far as to suggest active exclusion of non-local coin. More striking was a general trend for both production and circulation to be concentrated in the east and the south.