Barnstaple Shilling delivered by post for first time since 1930s

Barnstaple mayor Alan Rennles with the Barnstaple Shilling gift card that will be sent out to almsho

Barnstaple mayor Alan Rennles with the Barnstaple Shilling gift card that will be sent out to almshouses residents this year instead of the traditional visit. Picture: BTC - Credit: Archant

For the first time in almost a century the Mayor of Barnstaple has been unable to carry out a time honoured tradition and deliver the Barnstaple Shilling.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Councillor Alan Rennles has become the first mayor since the 1930s to be unable to visit the local almshouses and continue the custom of gifting each resident with a commemorative shilling.

Instead, a bespoke gift card has been designed with a shilling inside and sent to every almshouse resident.

The origins of the custom are thought to date back to the 18th century when a landowner decreed in his will that rent money should be distributed to charity – and the vicar would hand out the money to almshouses residents at Christmas.

In the 1930s the landowner decided he wouldn’t pay any more and the custom fell to the town council.


You may also want to watch:


At first a sixpence was given but in 1985 the Barnstaple Shilling was struck and continues to this day.

Most Read

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus