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Unformatted text preview: stan was estimated at a shilling; that is, fifteen-pence of our money. The fleece was two-fifths of the value of the whole sheep;i much above its present estimation; and the reason probably was, that the Saxons, like the ancients, were little acquainted with any clothing but what was made of wool. Silk and cotton were quite unknown: Linen was not much used. An ox was computed at six times the value of a sheep; a cow at four.k If we suppose, that the cattle in that age, from the defects in husbandry, were not so large as they are at present in England, we may compute, that money was then near ten times of greater value. A horse was valued at about thirty-six shillings of our money, or thirty Saxon shillings;l a mare a third less. A man at three pounds.m The board-wages of a child the first year was eight shillings, together with a cow’s pasture in summer, and an ox’s in winter.n William of Malmesbury mentions it as a remarkably high price that William Rufus gave fifteen marks for a horse, or about thirty pounds of our present money.o Between the years 900 and 1000, Ednoth bought a hide of land for about 118 shillings of present money.p This was little more than a shilling an acre, which indeed appears to have been the usual price, as we may learn from other accounts.q A palfrey was sold for twelve shillings about the year 966.r The value of an ox in king Ethelred’s time was between seven and eight shillings; a cow about six shillings. s Gervas of Tilbury says, that in Henry I.’s time, bread which would suffice a hundred men for a day was rated at three shillings, or a shilling of that age; for it is thought that soon after the conquest a pound sterling was divided into twenty shillings: A sheep was rated at a shilling, and so of other things in proportion. In Athelstan’s time a ram was valued at a shilling, or four-pence Saxon.t The tenants of Shireburn were obliged, at their choice, to pay either sixpence or four hens.u About 1232, the abbot of St. Albans, going on a journey, hired seven handsome stout horses; and agreed, if any of them died on the road, to pay the owner 30 shillings a piece of our present money.w It is to be remarked, that in all ancient times, the raising of corn, especially wheat, being a species of manufactory, that commodity always bore a higher price, compared to cattle, than it does in our times.x The Saxon Chronicle tells us,y that in the reign of Edward the Confessor there was the most terrible famine ever known; in so much that a quarter of wheat rose to sixty pennies, or fifteen shillings of our present money. Consequently it was as dear as if it now cost seven pounds ten shillings. This much exceeds the great famine in the end of queen Elizabeth; when a quarter of wheat was sold for four pounds. Money in this last period was nearly of the same value as in our time. These severe famines are a certain proof of bad husbandry. On the whole, there are three things to be considered, wherever a sum of money is mentioned in ancient times. First the change of denomination, by which a pound has been reduced to the third part of its ancient weight in silver. Secondly, the change in value by the greater plenty of money, which has reduced the same weight of silver to ten times less value, compared to c...
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This note was uploaded on 02/12/2011 for the course CHIN 101 taught by Professor Dr.yu during the Spring '08 term at University Of Southern Mississippi .
- Spring '08