Below is an image of a British farthing dated 1658 and bearing the name Thomas Snook with a place name of Stalbridg (Stalbridge, Dorset). The Snook (or Snooke) surname was present in Stalbridge over many years and 19 are mentioned in the Stalbridge Protestation returns of 1641, with two having the firstname of Thomas. The Stalbridge BMDs for this period no longer exist although the nearby parish of Lydlinch records baptisms with a father Thomas Snooke at this period and the burial records for Stalbridge list three Thomas burials in Q1 of the 1700s.

The absence of a father’s profession suggests BMD records for this period wouldn’t help with my quest which is to try to determine Thomas’s trade or profession. The date is also earlier than the period I’ve researched previously for genealogy purposes.

British farthings / tokens of this type were issued for only a brief period (see www.britishfarthings.com). The reference books may well help but would be costly to pursue and the enquiry form on the site doesn’t work on my PC (a perl script).

I’d welcome ideas of the approach I should take to try and discover more, and particularly Thomas's trade. enter image description here

2 Answers 2


Assisted with input from a friend, I can answer my own question. Wills and admons for Snook of Stalbridge (and the surrounding district) are on ancestry.

There is one admon and one will on ancestry that might relate to the correct Thomas:

  • Thomas Snooke admon 24 July 1683. He was a button maker with wife Melior.
  • Thomas Snooke the Elder, will 1660. He was a Tallow Chandler with a wife Katharine. They had a son Thomas (who was left all the tools of the business).

The "K" on the farthing suggests Thomas's wife's name began with a K, so Thomas Snooke the Elder is the likely issuer of the farthing.

The "fleur de lys" on the farthing is likely to be one of:

  • an emblem of the guild to which Thomas belonged
  • an emblem of the trade
  • a sign of where the business was located, or a nearby tavern.

Technically it is not a British Farthing but a British Trade Token with an exchage value of a farthing. The Internet Archive at www.archive.org has two volumes of reference books which can be accessed - simply enter "Trade Tokens Issued in the Seventeenth Century in England, Wales and Ireland" in the search box and they are at the top of the short list.

Vol 1: Trade Tokens Issued in the Seventeenth Century in England, Wales, and Ireland - has a reference to your token it is entry 185 on page 193, unfortunately all it says is Thomas Snook = a Fleur De Lys Stalbridge 1658

The author of the book coments on several tokens that the initial of the wife is often also added to that of the husband on the issuing of these tokens which would indicate that "K" could well be the first initial of Thomas Snook's wifes name.

  • I agree that "Trade Token" is a correct description. Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 21:11

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