Show Navigation

The Medieval Period (1100AD - 1499AD)

Life In The Middle Ages

Silver groat of James III

Middle Ages

This coin is a silver groat of King James III who reigned from 1460-88.

The coin has a realistic portrait of the King. Clean shaven, long haired and crowned, he is seen in three quarter view. The James III groat was the first British coin to show a monarch in this modern, Renaissance style. Previously all Scottish and English coins used stylized, cartoon-like images of the kings.

The side shown here carries the legend IACOBVS.DE.GRACIA. REX SCOTORV (James by the grace of God King of Scotland). The other side has a long cross and the Latin inscriptions S.P.RUTETVR ET LIBERATO (God is my Defender and Protector) and VIL.LA E.DIN.BURG (Edinburgh town). This shows that the coin was minted at Edinburgh. Groats like this were issued during the last few years of James’ reign. He was killed in battle at Sauchieburn near Stirling in June 1488.

The word groat comes from the French ‘gros’ meaning big. When groats were first introduced into medieval Scotland they were worth four pennies but by the time of James III they were worth one shilling (12 silver pennies). Curiously, English grots were only ever worth four pennies.

This is just one of many silver medieval coins in the museum’s collection. Most have been found by local metal detector users and allocated to the museum under the Scottish Treasure Trove system.

Place of Production:
Stranraer Museum
Accession number:
Digital Number:
SRCO003a, SRCO003b
Creation Date:
Dumfries & Galloway Council

Alternative Views:

alternative small picturealternative small picture