Æ Halfpenny. 1668. Diameter 20mm. No legend, a sailing ship. R. EDWARD BRENT HIS· HALF PENNY* 1668 in five lines. BW 340; Norweb 4995; Everson 775. Reverse pitted, otherwise Good Fine.
Tim Scotney writes : Edward Brent Senior of St Olave’s parish died a wealthy man in 1677, leaving a widow, Christian, and two sons, Edward Junior and Nathaniell. He left his wife his property at Swanscombe, Kent, and five boats. Also all his lands and businesses in St. Olave’s, including his interest in the pickle herring trade. These would eventually go to Edward Junior. Christian was also to have use of the lime making business at Northfleet, Kent and St Botolph, London. This would also go to Edward after Christian’s death as long as he paid £1,000 to Nathaniell for his share. Nathaniell would inherit the vessel called the Hopewell. (Perhaps the sailing boat illustrated on the token!) Christian was also left the profits of all his houses and businesses and vessels in Southwark and Newington, until Nathaniell inherited at age 21. A grandson was left £300 and two tenements in Winchester Park. Various other relatives received £130, with £30 going to the poor of Swanscombe and St. Olave’s.
Pickle Herring Stairs. These were a little way to the east of London bridge, close to where City Hall now stands. Wikipedia says that watermen's stairs were semipermanent structures that formed part of a complex transport network of public stairs, causeways and alleys in use from the 14th century to access the waters of the tidal River Thames in England. They were used by watermen, who taxied passengers across and along the river in London. Such stairs were used at high tide, and causeways were used at low tide, built down to the littoral water level from street level, their location being memorised during a waterman's apprenticeship. Stairs were recognised by custom and practice as safe plying places to pick up and put down passengers and were a valuable aid to rescue if anyone was unfortunate enough to fall into the river, as they were often built adjacent to a public house.
Southwark. Although the area was settled in the Roman period when it was the lowest bridging point of the Thames the name ‘Suthriganaweorc’ is of Saxon origin and dates from the 9th century. In the Domesday Book of 1086, it is known as ‘Sudweca’ meaning "southern defensive work" the southern location referring to the City of London to the north, and Southwark was at the southern end of London Bridge where it had an ideal position, for not only did it lie on the main London to Canterbury road, but its position close by the Southwark end of London Bridge attracted water traffic.
The end of London Bridge, on the Southwark side, was known as Bridge-foot and was frequently visited by Pepys.
British Tokens - 17th Century - London - Southwark - Pickle Herring Stairs. - Edward Brent -