Gold Tremissis

This coin is a gold Frankish tremissis. Probably produced in the AD600s in what is modern day France. This particular coin has a hole in the top suggesting that it was worn as pendent. A sign of great wealth, the wearer could demonstrate that the coin did not need to be spent and was disposable enough to wear as a fashion accessory.

The tremissis was found in the northern graveyard of Holy Trinity church maybe indicating that it was part of somebodies burial clothes. However the exact location of the find will proabaly never be known since it was found inside a workman’s boot.

The coin has all the traditional markings that one would expect from a Frankish coin; the cross, the name of the mint of where it was made, and the name of the moneyer who produced it. However time and ware have rendered the inscriptions unreadable.

A tremissis was a coin that was first minted by the Roman Empire around the fourth century AD. Roman currency was based on the idea the idea that coins drew their worth from how much precious metal was in the coin. This means that the more gold or silver that there was in a coin the more the coin was worth. A tremissis was designed to be a third of the weight of another roman coin, the pure gold solidus. This is where we get our word soldier from since Roman soldiers were paid in solidus coins. 

Seventy two solidus coins would then weigh out to be one Roman pound of gold, so if some lucky person had 216 tremissis they would in theory have a pound of gold. Roman coins were frequently debased meaning that the people who made the coins put less and less gold in them so they could make more coins, therefore more money.

Roman coins continued to be used in Britain for many centuries after the Romans had left since and it was a full two hundred years before any native coins were minted in England.