Possible mill connections
Certain designs on tokens do possibly relate to
watermills and more rarely to windmills. Some appear
to show the geometric design of millstones (with its
dress) others show waterwheels (with floats). This
latter type is not to be confused with similar
designs of cartwheels which have a solid outer rim
and no floats. It has been reported that a token
with a representation of a windmill has been found
near a known windmill location (ref 1) .
Fletcher (ref 2) reported that he had found a
reference to mill tokens in a French book by Jacques
Labrot entitled “Une Histoire Economique E
Populaire Du Moyen Age: Les Jetons Et Les Mereaux”.
Labrot cites ecclesiastical records when describing
the use of “mereaux de mouture”, which Fletcher
translated as milling tokens. Certainly, they are
not common. In my collection of around 2000 lead
tokens less than 2½% have what appears to be
waterwheel like images on them, and only four have
millstone dress patterns. Additionally, only one has
what appears to depict windmill sails.
A miller could possibly have given his clients a
token per sack taken in for milling, pending later
monetary settlement. The problem is that no-one
knows whether that actually happened. Maybe in the
future, further evidence will become available that
will confirm or not their connection with mills
Moon N. (1995), Lead Token from Downfield Windmill?
SPAB Wind & Watermill Section Newsletter. No. 63.
Fletcher, E. (2005). Leaden Tokens Telegraph. Issue
2 (November), p1. www.mernick. org.uk
*Prehistory & Europe Dept. The British Museum