Height: 42.000 mm
Width: 32.000 mm
Room 46: Europe 1400-1800
Cast silver gilt medal of King Charles I by Thomas Rawlins
Oxford, England, about AD 1643
In support of the king
During the English Civil War (1642-51) both the Parliamentary and Royalist factions commissioned medals to be given in recognition of soldierly valour. The gift of medals, a practise in Britain since the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603), was ritualized. Most of these pieces were therefore made with attached loops so that the medals could be worn on a chain or sewn onto clothing. Thomas Rawlins (about 1620-70) had been appointed Chief Engraver at the Mint by Charles I (reigned 1625-49) and remained loyal to the king even after he had fled London.
In May 1643 Charles ordered the Wardens of the Mint at Oxford, where he was headquartered, to have a medal made which would be worn 'on the breast of every man who shall be certified under the hands of their Commanders-in-Chief to have done us faithful service in the forlorn hope'. It was also commanded 'that no soldier at anytime do sell nor any of our subjects presume to buy or wear any of these said badges other than they to whom we shall give the same'. The medal shown here, on which are depicted Charles and his son, the future Charles II, would also have been worn by a supporter of the royalist cause.
E. Hawkins, Medallic illustrations of the (London, Trustees of the British Museum, 1885)