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Presenting the Barnstaple Shilling to the residents of the Lower Almshouses in 2014

Presenting the Barnstaple Shilling to the residents of the Lower Almshouses in 2014 /media/flashcomm?action=mediaview&context=normal&id=624
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The tradition of the Mayor of Barnstaple presenting coins to the residents of the almshouses in the town just after election to office probably dates back to Henry Gardner Tippett who died in 1795. In his will he arranged for the rent from some land called Hole Ground to be given to the poor in the almshouses at Christmas. This continued until the 1930 when the owner of Hole Ground declined to pay any more.
However, the tradition has continued and it is now the Mayor who presents the coins - initially a sixpence but then a five pence piece (the equivalent of the pre-decimalisation 'shilling'). In 1985 the Town Council resolved to produce a special commemorative coin incorporating the Town's Seal on one side and the Mayor's seal on the other and that has been presented to this day.
This photograph, courtesy of the Barnstaple Town Council, shows the Mayor for 2014-15, Councillor Val Elkins (centre), presenting the Barnstaple Shilling to (left to right): Joan Holland, Joyce Fenton and Joyce Williams of the Pilton Lower Almshouses.

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