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The reference to the 2000 pounds hidden at Oak Island reminded me of some
trivia I was going to pass on to you.  Of course our cousins across the pond
probably know this already.  I found this in a very interesting book called
"A Merdieval Family" by Frances and Joseph Gies.    It seems that a
considerable amount of correspondence from 3 generations of the Paston
family of 15th century England has survived.   It gives an interesting
picture of life during this time, not too long after Prince Henry Lived (not
in England, I know).   The oldest sons of each generation were lawyers that
spent much of their time in London fending off litigation and making a
living while their wives kept their estates functioning.  I am reminded that
Henry was away so much of the time to conquer the islands for Norway, buy
ships from England, travel to North America maybe twice, etc.  So his wife
had great responsibilities at home and concerning the raising of the
children, etc. just as the Paston women.
    One Paston was the lawyer for Sir John Fastolf, Knight b. 1380, who was
falsly charged with " reducing all the garrisons of Normandy, and Le Mans
and Maine, which was the cause of the losing of all the king's title and
right of inheritance that he had overseas.  And moreover it was said that
Sir John had furnished his place in Southwark with the old soldiers of
Normandy and habiliments of war, to destroy the commons of Kent when they
came to Southwark, and therefore should loose his head. (during the 1440's"
    Actually Sir John  led a large commissary train from Paris bringing food
to the English army  at the fateful siege of Orleans in March 1427.   But he
was intercepted by the French.  He circled his wagons and his archers drove
off the attackers.  Two months later Joan of Arc arrived and drove the
English from their fortifications around the city.  In June Fastolf led a
relief army from Paris and met Sir John Talbot north of Orleans with English
and Normandy reinforcements.  Sir John advised caution but Talbot decided to
fight and the English army was virtually destroyed.  He and Lord Scales were
taken prisoner but Fastolf escaped.  When Talbot was released he was wrongly
accused Fastolf of cowardice.  But English chroniclers perpetuated the story
of cowardice.  Shakespeare accepted their view in Henry VI, Part I, and
altered his name to Falstaff.

Now about the Pound written in the introduction.
   "Numerals in the letters are almost exclusively Roman, although
Hindu-Arabic notation had long been introduced in Europe.  The Pastons
probably employed the counting board (a version of the abacus) for their
computations.  ....  The monetary system, inherited from the Romans, was
universal in medieval Europe and preserved in England until the 1970's; In
latin, libri, solidi, and denarii, in English pounds, shillings, and pence;
twelve pence to a shilling and twenty shillings to a pound.  Counting by
dozens and scores of dozens apparently seemed natural to the Middle Ages,
In the Paston Letters, pounds are expressed by the abbreviation "li". (for
libri, as for example, "xxli") .  The abbreviations for shillings and pence
are the same as in predecimal Britain s. for shillings, and d. (denarii) for
pence.  In England another often-used unit was the mark, which equaled
two-thirds of a pound, a relationship confusing to a modern observer but
giving no trouble to the Pastons, who switched back and forth between pounds
and marks with casual dexterity.

   The one basic universal coin circulated throughout medieval Europe was
the silver penny.  In England there were multiples, 4d. and 2d. coins
(groats and half-groats), and fractions, half and quarter-pennies, but there
were no large silver coins.  The pound and the shilling, as well as the
mark, were only "moneys of account," used for convenience in dealing with
large amounts but no existing as actual coins.  There was no paper money.  A
few English gold coins existed: the noble, worth a third of a pound, and the
half-and quarter-noble.  In 1464 the old noble was renamed the "angel," and
the new noble, also called "royal," became a half-pound."

     Well there is much much more like this in the book that will give you a
feel for life in those days.

Portland, OR

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