The true story of The Cragg Vale Coiners who were an infamous group of gold coin forgers in 18th Century Yorkshire. They were so prolific and successful they nearly unstablised the banking system at the time.
The story is set to be turned in a new BBC drama. I’ve never heard this story before hearing about the new drama being made. I thought it might be of interest to some of you.
Below information from Wikipedia:
Led by "King" David Hartley, the Coiners obtained real coins from publicans, sometimes on the promise that they could "grow" the investment by smelting the original metals with base ores. They removed the coins' genuine edges and milled them again, collecting the shavings. The coins were only slightly smaller. They then melted down the shavings to produce counterfeits. Designs were punched into the blank "coins" with a hammer and a "coining kit". The Coiners then had their accomplices place the fakes into circulation. Most of the counterfeit coins had French, Spanish or Portuguese designs.
The Cragg Coiners were so successful because the region of Yorkshire they operated within was isolated from centralised England.
In 1769, William Dighton (Deighton), a public official, investigated the possibilities of a counterfeiting gang in Cragg Vale. A Coiner by the name of James Broadbent betrayed the gang by turning King's evidence and revealed the gang's existence and operations to authorities. Dighton had Hartley arrested.
The arrest made the Coiners vengeful. Isaac Hartley, "King" David's brother, engineered a plan to have Dighton killed, with a number of Coiners subscribing a total of one hundred Guineas in support of the plan. On 10 November 1769, two farm hands employed by the Coiners, Matthew Normanton and Robert Thomas, ambushed Dighton in Halifax and shot him in Bull Close Lane.
Charles Watson-Wentworth (the Marquess of Rockingham and former Prime Minister) was tasked with hunting down the killers. He had thirty Coiners arrested by Christmas Day. David Hartley was hanged at 'York Tyburn' near York on 28 April 1770, and buried in the village of Heptonstall, West Riding of Yorkshire. His brother, Isaac, escaped the authorities and lived until 1815. As for Dighton's murderers, Normanton was hanged on 15 April 1775 and Thomas was hanged on 6 August 1774.