Arthur Mangy, Goldsmith: Clipper and Counterfeiter? – Gary Oddie

This note is about a recently (re)discovered short article, from 1899, giving a full description of the trial of the Leeds goldsmith, Arthur Mangy, for counterfeiting. On a first read of the main text, something about the trial didn’t seem quite correct. A second read and working through the original footnotes revealed that the original authors also had reservations about the judicial process. Mangy was tried on the evidence of a single accomplice who had turned King’s evidence, but whose testimony was later discredited.

The counterfeiting and clipping was taking place at the time of the Great Recoinage and Mangy was alleged to be buying clippings from full hammered coins and debasing the silver before striking counterfeit milled shillings of Charles II. During the trial there is evidence of attempted witness nobbling by the accused, as well as the controller of the York Mint being surreptitiously called in to act as a witness for the defence. Mangy was tried on 1st August 1696, found guilty, and hanged at the York ‘Tyburn’ at Knavesmire on 2nd October in front of a crowd of several thousand spectators.

To this are added sections on Arthur Mangy’s business and family and some comments on the trial process and the suggested method of creating counterfeits.

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