A Conversation for Old English Money

Six Shillings Eightpence?

Post 1

Slartibartfast

Has there ever been a tradition of giving sums of six shillings eightpence or three shillings fourpence. There is a reference to this practice in the Hornblower novel "Flying Colours". I'm aware that there have been, long ago, coins minted in these denominations. Also, both have been, at different times, the standard fee for a lawyer's services. Still, no such coins would have been in circulation by Hornblower's time and he was not a lawyer so ...

Any hints or references to customs surrounding these amounts of money would be appreciated.


Six Shillings Eightpence?

Post 2

Wand'rin star

I'm very interested in this.(A506350) As far as I know, there was never a coin for a third of a pound or a sixth. Can you give me a reference?
Lawyers would always have been paid in guineas surely (or fractions thereof)?smiley - starsmiley - star


Six Shillings Eightpence?

Post 3

Wand'rin star

SORRY. YOU WERE COMING FROM THE ARTICLE.
I can't help at all. there were traditional payments of 7d for help with a hay harvest and 4d for road mending up to late Victorian times but I've never heard 3/4d used except for mental arithmetic 65 years ago smiley - starsmiley - star


Six Shillings Eightpence?

Post 4

Bald Bloke

This doesn't go back to stamp duty does it?
If it involves legal documents they were subject to stamp duty, so if the lawyer wanted 3/- for writing it you may well have had to put a 4d stamp on the document to make it legal. so it would cost you 3 shillings and 4 pence.


Six Shillings Eightpence?

Post 5

Slartibartfast

There have been English coins called the "noble" and the "angel" with a value of 6/8 as well as quarter- and half-value versions at various times from the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries. Half the amount (3/4) was often referred to as "ten groats" when the four-penny "groat" was a common coin. Shakespeare's "All's Well that Ends Well" contains "As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an attorney". By the nineteenth century there are references to attorneys' fees being now 6/8.
My interest, though, is why people would send these exact amounts to Hornblower as something like a reward for his exploits. There must have been some kind of tradition, now forgotten and, as far as I can tell, undocumented. I trust the author (C.S. Forester, 1899--1966) not to have simply invented a detail of this kind.


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Six Shillings Eightpence?

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