Thomas Rawlins

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Thomas Rawlins (1620?–1670) was an English medallist and playwright.



Born about 1620, Rawlins appears to have received instruction as a goldsmith and gem engraver, and to have worked under Nicholas Briot at the Royal Mint.

Nicholas Briot was an innovative French coin engraver, medallist and mechanical engineer, who emigrated to England and became chief engraver to the Royal Mint in 1633 and is credited with the invention of the coining-press.

Royal Mint minter of coins in the United Kingdom

The Royal Mint is a government-owned mint that produces coins for the United Kingdom. Operating under the name Royal Mint Ltd, the mint is a limited company that is wholly owned by Her Majesty's Treasury and is under an exclusive contract to supply all the nation's coinage. As well as minting circulating coins for use domestically and internationally, the mint also produces planchets, commemorative coins, various types of medals and precious metal bullion. The mint exports to an average of 60 countries a year, making up 70% of its total sales. Formed over 1,100 years ago, the mint was historically part of a series of mints that became centralised to produce coins for the Kingdom of England, all of Great Britain and eventually most of the British Empire. The original London mint from which the Royal Mint is the successor, was established in 886 AD and operated within the Tower of London for approximately 800 years before moving to what is now called Royal Mint Court where it remained until the 1960s. As Britain followed the rest of the world in decimalising its currency, the Mint moved from London to a new 38 acres (15 ha) plant in Llantrisant, Wales where it has remained since.

Badge of Charles I by Thomas Rawlins Badge of Charles I Rawlins.jpg
Badge of Charles I by Thomas Rawlins

Rawlins's first dated medal is from 1641. Shortly afterwards, on the outbreak of the First English Civil War, he went to the king's headquarters at Oxford. His signature appears on coins of the Oxford mint, 1644–1646, and in 1644 he produced the crown piece known as the "Oxford crown", from the view of Oxford introduced beneath the ordinary equestrian type of the obverse of the coin. In 1643 he prepared the badge given to the "Forlorn Hope", and received a warrant (1 June 1643) for making the special medal conferred on Sir Robert Welch. He struck at Oxford a medal commemorating the taking of Bristol by Prince Rupert's forces (1643), and until 1648 was employed in making medals and badges for the king's supporters. Rawlins also designed a pattern sovereign of Charles I, and the so-called "Juxon medal", probably the pattern for a five-broad piece. He was formally appointed chief engraver of the mint in the twenty-third year of Charles I (March 1647–March 1648).

First English Civil War Civil war in England 1642–1646

The First English Civil War (1642–1646) began the series of three wars known as the English Civil War. "The English Civil War" was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations that took place between Parliamentarians and Royalists from 1642 until 1651, and includes the Second English Civil War (1648–1649) and the Third English Civil War (1649–1651). The wars in England were part of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, being fought contemporaneously with equivalents in Scotland and Ireland. Many castles and high-status homes such as Lathom House were slighted during or after the conflict.

Bristol Place in England

Bristol is a city and county in South West England with a population of 459,300. The wider district has the 10th-largest population in England. The urban area population of 724,000 is the 8th-largest in the UK. The city borders North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, with the cities of Bath and Gloucester to the south-east and north-east, respectively. South Wales lies across the Severn estuary.

Sovereign (English coin) English gold coin

The English gold sovereign was a gold coin of the Kingdom of England first issued in 1489 under King Henry VII. While the coin typically had a nominal value of one pound sterling, or twenty shillings, the sovereign was primarily an official piece of bullion and had no mark of value on its face. The name derives from the large size and majestic portrait of the monarch, with the obverse of the first sovereigns showing the king full face, sitting on a throne, while the reverse shows the Royal Arms of England and a Tudor double rose.

The "Juxon medal" Juxon Medal.jpg
The "Juxon medal"

About 1648 Rawlins seems to have gone to France. He returned to England in 1652, and from that time till the Restoration earned a precarious livelihood, partly by making dies for tradesmen's tokens. He engraved the town-tokens of Bristol, Gloucester, and Oxford, and produced dies for London tradesmen in Broad Street, Hounsditch, St. Paul's Churchyard, and the Wardrobe. On 27 February 1657 he was in prison for debt at the "Hole in St. Martin's", and wrote for assistance to John Evelyn, whom he had met in Paris.

John Evelyn writer, gardener and diarist

John Evelyn, FRS was an English writer, gardener and diarist.

At the Restoration of 1660 Rawlins was reinstated as chief engraver at the mint, Thomas Simon being then styled "Chief Engraver of Arms and Seals". He had a residence in the mint, and in June 1660 was ordered to engrave the king's effigies for the coins. From 30 July to 24 September 1660 he was engaged in engraving a privy seal for Ireland and five judicial seals for the Welsh counties.

Thomas Simon English medallist

Thomas Simon, English medalist, was born, according to Vertue, in Yorkshire about 1623.

Rawlins died in 1670. He was married to Dorothea Narbona. In Richard Flecknoe's Miscellanies there is a poem on Rawlins.

Richard Flecknoe was an English dramatist, poet and musician. He is remembered for being made the butt of satires by Andrew Marvell in 1681 and by John Dryden in Mac Flecknoe in 1682.


The following is a list of his principal medals:

He also executed badges with portraits of the royal family, and the medals Death of Charles I, (1) rev. Hammer striking diamond on anvil, 1648; (2) rev. Rock buffeted by Winds; and (3) rev. Salamander amid flames, 1648.


In 1640, Rawlins published The Rebellion, a tragedy that, according to the title-page, was acted nine days together and subsequently by the king's company of revels. The scene is laid in Seville, and a prominent part is taken in the play by the tailors of the city. It was dedicated by Rawlins to his kinsman Robert Ducie of Aston, Staffordshire.

Two comedies, both printed after the year of his death, are usually assigned to Rawlins:

A collection of poems called Calanthe (with Good Friday, being Meditations on that Day, 1648) is signed "T. R.", and William Oldys identified the author with Rawlins. Complimentary verses by Rawlins are prefixed to Messallina, a tragedy, by his friend Nathanael Richards, and to Richard Lovelace's Lucasta. [1]


  1. Wikisource-logo.svg  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1896). "Rawlins, Thomas". Dictionary of National Biography . 47. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1896). "Rawlins, Thomas". Dictionary of National Biography . 47. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

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