This was a tradesman’s token, and like 10% of the trade tokens issued in Staffordshire, an ironmongers token, as an iron stamp was used to make it. Trade tokens were produced in quantity in the mid seventeeth century to meet the need for small change. The smallest coins of the realm were silver and ofmuch higher value than ordinary people needed for everyday use. Tokens continued to be struck until the Act os Suppression made them illegal in 1817.
The Yoxal Penny was struck by Zachariah Lightwood in 1671. The original token, of thin brass, was octagonal and 20mm diameter. On the face is a shield bearing a chevon, charged with hanks of cotton, between three billets. The margin bears the name of ZACHARIAH LIGHTWOOD. On the reverse the initials LZK are set between three roses, and a margin with the words YOXALL 1671, with a saw-tooth pattern of decoration around the initials.
Zachariah Lightwood was a churchwarden in 1667 and the husband of Katherine (the K on the coin), the combination of husband and wife’s names on trade tokens being common practice.
Stebbing Shaw, in his book The History and Antiquities of Stafforshire, 1798 stated that he was given several of these tokens by a apothecary, Mr Lightwood, a descendent of Zachariah who also owned the iron stamp used to make the tokens. According to Shaw, Mr Lightwood lived in “the white house facing the parsonage”, which presumably would have have been the Old Hall.
The above is an edited version of ‘The Yoxal Penny’ in a social history of Yoxall in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, edited by Denis Stuart.