Mark Smith's discovery of the Bradninch Arms token is a fascinating find relating to a pub about which we know very little. Local historian Tony Taylor, now retired, recorded the location of the Bradninch Arms in his splendid book 'Portrait of Bradninch - a Duchy Town: which he published in 1981. He will be pleased to hear of the coin's discovery.
It's difficult to read the middle letters, which at first were thought to read 'Quirk' .Corrosion around the second and third characters has almost formed them into an 'm' and the penultimate one could be 'c' rather than the supposed letter 'r' The alternative spelling could be 'Quick'. It is here that the story gets interesting.
FRONT OF TOKEN
I had not realised that the Bradninch Arms had had two locations at different times, being firstly at 46 Fore Street (renamed from 'The Queen's Head' and the location pictured in the Express and Echo article) when it closed in 1835/6.
PHOTO OF 46 FORE STREET (As it is today)
The Bradninch Arms re-opened three years later in 1839 at No. I Cullompton Hill under Anthony Nick (or Nicks?) who ran it until 1856.
Who should take over from him than one Albion Quick! Tony Taylor notes that he was running the Bradninch Arms circa 1870 and we may conclude from Tony's research that Albion Quick was there from 1856 to 1878. The token is much younger than the 170 years originally thought and most likely to be 130-140 years old when the Bradninch Arms was in Cullompton Hill. Presumably it was used as a pre-payment for tobacco and beer or as an 'IOU' to the publican, the value on the reverse being 3d.
I have been in conversation with a gentleman in Crediton who found a similar token in Mill Street, Crediton about 20 years ago, belonging to the Green Dragon Inn, which was located in North Street and closed in 1778. Its size compares with today's 20p piece. It has value of 1 1/2 d. although the obverse side has no name, only numbers, which he thinks are 118 or 178. The tradition of pub tokens may have a surprisingly long history!
Compiled by Warwick Knowles (Chairman, Bradninch History Society)
Photos by Warren Radmore
If you have any information on this token or any other related tokens please contact Warwick on (01392) 881049