On Friday 3 May three of us attended the ‘Verdict of the Pyx’ an historic tradition at the Goldsmiths’ Company based in the Ward of Cheap. This year was particulary special for our team as Common Councillor Nick Bensted-Smith was one of the jurors passing judgement on the Master of the Royal Mint… better known as the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond MP!
The Trial of the Pyx is an examination by a jury of Freemen of the Goldsmiths’ Company in a court of law to ascertain that coins produced by the Royal Mint are of the correct weight, diameter and composition required by law.
As one of the nation’s longest-established judicial ceremonies, the Trial of the Pyx has a rich and fascinating history. It brings together some of the United Kingdom’s oldest organisations and offices with the purpose of ensuring the quality and accuracy of the nation’s coinage.
The ceremony involves the Chancellor of the Exchequer (or nominated representative), financial leaders, representatives of The Royal Mint and freemen of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, commonly known as The Goldsmiths’ Company.
Once all the coins have been examined and the Assay Office has established whether The Royal Mint has met all requirements, the Trial’s court is reconvened at Goldsmiths’ Hall, about three months after the ceremony. For the final phase of the Trial of the Pyx, the verdict of the Assay Office is provided to the jury and is read aloud by the Clerk of the Goldsmiths’ Company at the instruction of the Senior Master and Queen’s Remembrancer – an ancient post created in 1154 by Henry II (and the oldest judicial position still in existence). The medieval protocols of the Trial are a living link to a grandly ceremonial past.
For more information click here.