A large collection of numismatic material (material relating to or consisting of coins, medals or tokens) was assessed during the inventory and audit of Stromness Museum collections during the course of the Collections Development Team Project 2017-2020. This project was funded by the John Ellerman Foundation and the Orkney LEADER 2014-2020 Programme. The Pow Hoard was amongst this large collection.
A hoard is a term given to a collection of objects, such as coins, which have been deliberately deposited. We do not know what the purpose of the hoard was – had it been hidden for safekeeping? Did they hope to retrieve it at a later date?
The Pow hoard is a hoard of copper coins and it was discovered when Mr Robert Allen and his sons were pulling down a wall of an old house at the farm of Pow, Innertown, Stromness, in May 1955.
The hoard contained 124 turners from the reign of Charles I (r. 1625-1649), 3 contemporary forgeries and four of the corresponding English farthing tokens. The coins were found with fragments of a cloth bag. The majority of the find is in the collection of the National Museum of Scotland. One of these copper turners was worth two pence Scots.
Stromness Museum cares for four of the copper coins, which were minted between 1632-1639. During the time of minting there was conflict between Charles I and the Scottish Presbyterianism. Charles believed the king had a divine right to rule and therefore he was the spiritual head of the Church. The Presbyterians could not accept this – for them, Jesus Christ was the head of the Church. Scots banded together in opposition to Charles I’s religious and political policies, leading to the signing of the National Covenant in 1638.
The obverse side depicts a crown above ‘CIIR’ for Carolus Rex (King Charles) and two pence. The Latin inscription reads: Charles, by the Grace of God, King of Scots, England, France and Ireland
The reverse side depicts a thistle and the Latin reads: No one shall hurt me with impunity
Stromness Museum is part of the Money and Medals Network. See our page on their site here.