This 17th Century trade token, acquired by the British Museum in 1959 was issued in 1665 by John Gidley of Hatherleigh. It is mentioned in H. Gill’s article on Devonshire Tokens part IV, published in the Devonshire Association Reports and Transactions Volume X : 1878, and if it is the same one may still be the only known example. The author states that Okehampton and Great Torrington each had 7 tokens of this period and so others from Hatherleigh, and further examples of this one, my still come to light. (Have you unearthed one in your garden?!) The front (obverse) reads: IOHN GIDLEY 1665, the reverse reads: OF HATHERLEIGH with the initials G.I.A. in the centre.
Tokens were an unofficial currency issued by merchants in times when there was an acute shortage of small denomination coins in circulation, and were in effect redeemable for goods rather then currency.
John Gidley (1632-1713) was born in Winkleigh. He was a surgeon and freeman of the company of Barber Surgeons and a member of the Gidley family that bought Gidleigh Park in 1660. The south transept of the Church Of All Saints in Winkleigh, known as the Gidley Chapel, was built by his father Bartholomew as a mortuary chapel for his family.