Skip to page content | Skip to submenu

Richard II's treasure

the riches of a medieval king

treasure roll » weights


Most objects in the inventory are given a weight and a value. The value was usually calculated by the weight of precious metal without anything being added for workmanship. A further sum was nearly always added if the object was enriched with gems and pearls.

The Troy pound (lb.) of 12 oz. or 5760 grains, 374.4 grams, was used for weighing precious metals. Each ounce divided into 20 esterlins (e.). A mark (m.) was 8 oz. or two thirds of a lb.

Most gold was valued at 23s. 4d. per ounce, but some gold objects were considered to be worth considerably more, 26s. 8d. per ounce, perhaps because the metal was exceptionally fine, or perhaps because they were newly made and workmanship entered into the calculation.

Most silver-gilt pieces were valued at 30s. per lb., although a few were considered to be much more valuable. Not very many objects out of the total of 1,206 entries (amounting to many more individual items), were of ungilded silver. These were normally valued at £1 per lb.

Other records, such as the accounts of the department known as the Wardrobe of the king's household, demonstrate that goldsmiths would charge extra for the gold (sometimes obtained by melting gold coins) and for the work needed for gilding. In this period mercury gilding was practised, a process which produced especially beautiful results but is no longer permitted because of the danger it presents to the health of craftsmen.

treasure roll | back to top