Archiver > YORKSGEN > 2006-05 > 1146481859

From: "Roy Stockdill" <>
Subject: Re: [YKS] More Annals of Yorkshire
Date: Mon, 1 May 2006 12:12:52 +0000
In-Reply-To: <001601c66ca6$ffa62f90$0301010a@HARRISON>

> From: "Herbert Harrison" <>

> Most interesting and informative - thank you.
> Would you mind commenting upon the words "Coiners & Clippers?"
> They were, of course, rogues of one sort or another, but the terminology
> intrigues me. What were their particular activities?>

The Cragg Vale Coiners, operating from remote farmsteads in the wild
and lonely hills of Cragg Vale above the village of Mytholmroyd in
the Calder Valley, were a notorious gang of counterfeiters who came
close to destroying the coin of the realm and wrecking the currency
of Britain. You will find lots about them on the Internet, including
an article by Yours Truly at www.mytholmroyd.net

They employed a network of local publicans to take out of circulation
gold coins, which were then "clipped", i.e. had tiny amounts of metal
shaved off the edges. These coins then had their edges re-milled by
skilled craftsmen and were put back into circulation, albeit very
marginally smaller but not so much that anyone would notice. The
clippings of gold were then melted down, when enough had accumulated,
to produce new coins that had head and tail faces stamped onto them,
and the edges milled, by the same craftsmen. These fake coins, too,
were passed to the publicans to put into circulation. The operation
was highly sophisticated, considering that the men running it almost
certainly were not!

Everything went wrong when William Dighton, the excise officer
ordered to catch the gang, was murdered at Halifax in 1769, the crime
having been planned at the Dusty Miller, a well-known pub in
Mytholmroyd which is still in the centre of the village today.
Indeed, I might perhaps mention here that the new landlords who have
just taken over the pub recently asked my permission to frame a copy
of my article on the Cragg Vale Coiners on the wall.

The gang leader "King" David Hartley was buried in the old churchyard
at Heptonstall after execution and the grave can still be seen today.
Inevitably, it attracts many visitors. There are almost certainly
descendants of the Cragg Vale Coiners still living in the Calder
Valley today. It should perhaps be remembered that these men were
driven to crime by the extreme poverty and poor crcimstances in which
they lived, eking out a bare subsistence on remote farms and
supplementing their income with a bit of weaving.

Roy Stockdill
Web page of the Guild of One-Name Studies:- www.one-name.org
Newbies' Guide to Genealogy & Family History:- www.genuki.org.uk/gs/Newbie.html

"Familiarity breeds contempt - and children."

Mark Twain

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