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mint


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A place where money is coined, especially under state authority. Recorded from Old English (in form mynet ‘coin’, and of West Germanic origin) the word is related to Dutch munt and German Münze, from Latin moneta ‘money’.

The Mint was a name given to a place of privilege formerly existing near the King's or Queen's Bench Prison in Southwark abolished by statute in 1723; to send someone to the Mint was to ruin them. The place took its name from a house which had been a ‘mint of coynage’ for Henry VIII, and so subject to royal privilege. Because it acted as a shelter for debtors it attracted a large number of poor and destitute people, and in mid-18th century poetry it was put on a similar level with Bedlam and Newgate.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500).


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