Next club meeting Monday 1st June 2019.
Subject - Annual General Meeting and Possible Display
This will be an online meeting, held at 8pm. All the members who asked for invites to the May meeting will automatically receive an invite for the June meeting. Any other members who want to join the meeting should e-mail me to ask for an invite. For those of you who know nothing at all about the ‘Zoom’ app, it is preferable for you to download it before the meeting. You then let me know you want to join the meeting and I will send you an e-mail containing a link to the meeting. You click on the link and will be taken to the meeting, where you should click on the video camera icon to turn on your video if you wish to be seen. Microphones seem to be on automatically, so be careful what you say! When you click on the link I have to allow you in to the meeting, so there will be a short gap between asking to join the meeting and being allowed in, please be patient.
Sadly, for those of you who do not have access to computers the only way to keep in touch with the club is through the newsletter or by phoning me.
Current officers of the club are staying on in post until it is possible to have proper elections.
This was a new format for the club, thirteen members of the club had an electronic meeting using the ‘Zoom’ conferencing ‘app’. After a small number of technical problems were quickly overcome (most of the members were already familiar with ‘Zoom’) John called the meeting to order. Firstly he thanked the members for being in the meeting and pointed out that of our 44 members approximately 36 use computers and so this first e-meeting represented about one third of the possible attendance. Not bad for a first go. He then reminded everyone that newsletters will continue during the lockdown and will include articles by members. He also reiterated the intention of the committee that existing members will be auto-enrolled for the forthcoming season and their subscriptions will be waived.
Last but not least, he reminded members that we are always looking for members to join the committee and give us poor souls a rest.
John then demonstrated how a traditional talk could be carried on in an e-meeting. ‘Zoom’ allows an option where things like Powerpoint displays or slideshows can be simultaneously broadcast to all members while a presenter is able to talk to the display. To illustrate the point John showed off his latest version of the front page for the coin club’s website, which now contains a slideshow gallery of pictures taken at meetings from 1999 to the present.
June is always the AGM, a very short affair these days, with reports being sent out in advance and at the next meeting we hope to be able to have our AGM online. As last year, attached to this newsletter is a single Committee Report with contributions from all the officers and the financial balance sheet is appended at the end of this newsletter. We will not be repeating the content verbatim at the meeting. After the formalities, any agenda points that the Committee requires membership feedback on will be discussed. Then there will be the opportunity for members to raise any issues, so please take time to read the report and gather your thoughts prior to the meeting. The election of officers will be deferred for the moment, the current officers of the club will continue in post until we can have proper elections. Following on from that we hope to have a short talk or possibly even run the display competition for the Michael Broome Cup - if you wish to enter a display, please phone or e-mail John to discuss how this might be done.
May Article by Mick
THE TITULAR QUEEN OF ENGLAND
Diameter = 48 mm
The medallion illustrated above features the bust of Catholic Clementina (1702-1735).
You may well ask what possible interest would Clementina be to an English medallion collector, since she was the granddaughter of the Polish king? The answer is that being married to King James II eldest son, James ‘The Old Pretender’, if the restitution of the Stuarts had ever succeeded Clementina would have been the Queen of England.
To understand the message of this medallion it is necessary to briefly recount some background pertaining to the Jacobites. From the time of Elizabeth I, England was a Protestant country dominated by a resolute Clergy (many of whom sat in Parliament). So when in 1785 the Catholic James II succeeded to the throne the English Bishops were having none of it. They were spurred into action when James tried to introduce the ‘Declaration of Indulgence’ allowing religious tolerance. However, the Bishops thought otherwise, believing it was a back door way of reintroducing Catholicism. James accused the Bishops of sedition and had them locked in the tower. They were tried, but acquitted, which eventually led to the Glorious Revolution with the Protestant William of Orange invited to reign with Mary - and James was forced into exile in France. The medallion below (actually 51mm diameter) commemorates the Bishops successful opposition to James. The obverse depicts Sancroft, the Archbishop of Canterbury, while the reverse shows small effigies of the seven other protesting bishops.
Once in Catholic France the French king cajoled James II into attacking Protestant England through his Irish campaign. Although James lost and was forced to flee back to France, it succeeded in unnerving both the monarchy & the church that were ever fearful of a Stuart revival. So much so that in 1701 the ‘Act of Settlement’ was passed mandating that only Protestants could succeed to the English throne. This did not prevent the Stuart supporters, particularly the Scots, from continuing their claim for the English throne, especially as they considered Hanoverian George’s claim to be rather tenuous. The Old Pretender supported risings in Scotland in 1716, and 1719, while finally there was the Young Pretenders rising in 1745, immortalised in the saga of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
It is with this background in mind that the story of Clementina unfolds. In 1719 Clementina announced her engagement to James II eldest son, namely James ‘The Old Pretender’. With the possibility of a Stuart heir the fearful George I persuaded the Holy Roman Emperor to have Clementina arrested and imprisoned in Innsbruck. To allay his fears George even offered a large bounty to the Prince of Baden to marry Clementina – she refused. The saga then becomes rather like a 3 Musketeers adventure, albeit a 100 years before Dumas. Four Irish Jacobite adventurers (Wogan, Graydon, O’Toole, Misset) plus Misset’s wife and her maid Jeanatten hatched an extremely simple plan to exchange the maid with Clementina. After much preparation & correspondence with Clementina the plan was put into action. In a raging blizzard on the night of the 27th April 1719 a deliberately shabbily dressed Jeanatten was escorted by Clementina’s man servant into the place of captivity. Sometime later Clementina emerged dressed in the maid’s shabby clothes, carrying a bundle, and was promptly taken by Wogan to a nearby inn to join the rest of the group. They hastily boarded a coach and set forth. But in the snowstorm progress was slow and they were forced to seek shelter. At this point Clementina said she had left the bundle at the inn – and astounded everyone by announcing it contained some crown jewels. So immediately O’Toole was dispatched to recover the jewels. On his return they set off, but again progress was slow because they were aiming to cross the Alps into Italy via the Brenner Pass in a raging snowstorm on a poorly maintained road. The food they prepared earlier made them sick and they had to use much subterfuge and false credentials to periodically obtain fresh horses. Once the escape was discovered the chief jailer killed the manservant and sent couriers along potential escape routes with instruction for Notables to detain the escapees. Luckily O’Toole had lagged someway behind the main group and managed to intercept a courier. Plying him with drink and drugs the courier became incapable and very sick so that O’Toole could relieve him of his credentials and messages. In their haste to make progress the coach nearly fell into a ravine while overtaking a cart (good Hollywood action) and later the axle of the coach broke after hitting a rock. The only alternative transport to be had was a two man dog cart. And this is how Clementina reach the sanctuary of Italy on the 30th April, with others having to walk with their exhausted horses.
After resting and much celebration on the 2nd May the group made its way to Bologna. Her groom to be, James ‘The Old pretender’, was not there to meet her since he was in Spain drumming up support for yet another expedition to Britain to reclaim his throne. Thus by prior arrangement, Clementina was married to James by proxy, on the 9th May 1719. Leaving the next day the group made its way to Rome. By now the escape was hot news all over Europe so that when Clementina eventually entered Rome it was in triumph to be greeted by the Pope and Cardinals. It is this triumphant entry that is depicted in classical style on the reverse of the medallion. She is depicted just like Boadicea in her Chariot with the Coliseum in the background signifying Rome. Following James’ return from his unsuccessful dealings in Spain, the couple were formally married on the 2nd September 1719.
The couple were held in high regard by their benefactor Pope Clement XI, who named them the ‘Titular King & Queen of England’. However, the marriage was not a happy one as they lived mostly apart, with Clementina residing in Rome. She died at the very young age of 32, was given a state funeral, and is interred in St Peters Basilica in Rome, where a very elaborate memorial can be seen.
The medallion was engraved by Otto Hamerani (1698 -1761). While he carried out some early commissions he was far more productive from 1730 under the patronage of Pope Clement 12th.
The medallion is dated to the time of Clementina’s escape, namely 1719, but given that much of Otto’s work was much later this medallion could be a memorial to the highly regarded Clementina, shortly after her death. There are however two other less likely possibilities nearer to 1719. Firstly, Otto did do medallic work for James with similar early dates but given his frosty attitude towards his wife I cannot see him commissioning this medal. Secondly, it could be a commission from her benefactor, Pope Clement 11th, but he died in early 1721 at the then old age of 71 and was probably past caring about commissions.
So we will probably never know the answer for sure as to the true date of issue, given that the issue of many 18th century medallions bear little relation to the dates upon them.
The stories behind some Medallions and tokens are often quite amazing, especially when they are more like a script for a Hollywood movie or Dumas‘s Three Musketeers novel.
· 20 years ago – Mr. David Griffiths gave a talk on "Thomas Williams 1738-1802”
· 40 years ago – Peter Seaby Gave a talk on Norman Pennies