Welsh Genealogy

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John Wilkinson & Copper Mines


By Wayne Turner (Journal No.2, 1974, republished in Journal No.7 1979)

The only face to appear on British coins of the 18th century is that of the monarch with the exception of Wilkinson, one of the industrial token issuers, who had his own effigy stamped on his coins, together with the words - JOHN WILKINSON, IRONMASTER.

Wilkinson?s tokens show on the edges the places where they would be redeemable: Willey, Snedshill, Bersham and Bradley, at first, and later on, Anglesey, London and Liverpool.

The first issues of copper coins were in 1787 with the name wrongly spelt as WILKISON, on one side, and this appeared with each yearly issue with the face of the ironmaster himself, a right profile surrounded by the words JOHN WILKISON IRONMASTER. On the edge were the names of some of his concerns, Bersham, Bradley, Broseley; on the reverse side a different design appeared each year, though designs of previous years were repeated. In 1787 a worker is shown putting a lump of iron under an automatic hammer; for 1788 a boat is shown, not necessarily the iron boat; for 1790 a woman leans on a cog-wheel; for 1791, the name now misspelt WILKESON, a naked man (Vulcan?) sits holding a hammer over an anvil and the rigging of a ship is just visible. Around the edge are the names Bradley, Bersham, Willey and Snedshill.

For 1792, the words on the edge said, Payable at London or Anglesey and the design shows a crown surmounting a harp, with the words NORTH WALES. Quite often, a 1792 issue shows the 1791 design. In 1793, there is a new effigy, Wilkinson doubtless having been "plastered again"; on the reverse a woman holds a pair of scales, there is a Latin legend, MEA PECUNIA and on the edge the town names, Birmingham, Brighton, Liverpool. Coins can be seen in the Coalbrookdale Museum and Bilston Art Gallery while Wrexham Public Library has the following coins :- 1787(3), 1788(1), 1790(4), 1792(1), 1793(1), 1795(1). The silver token of 1788, worth then 3s. 6d., is rarely reported.

I have two of the halfpenny coins and below you can see photos of them.

The above is part of an article to be found at the following link http://www.broseley.org.uk/wilkfiles/Wilkinson%20tokens.htm

I've included the above as after the closure or considerable reduction of the workings of the Parys mountain mine on Anglesey many of the workers moved to Ireland to work and one of them may have been your ancestors.

North Wales Mines

Links and information about any form of mining that took place in North Wales including coal, slate and copper