Pound notes

I have often heard SNP
spokesmen claiming that the pound is as much Scottish as it is English or British.

This is only really true since the Act of Union in 1707. Prior to that, two currencies existed in the British Isles: the pound sterling and the pound Scots.

The “starling” was a small
silver coin and was so named
because it looked like a bright star. It dates from pre-Norman times and 240 sterling coins weighed one pound in weight, hence the pound sterling.

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Older readers may remember that until 1971 there were 240 pennies to the pound, divided into shillings of 12 pennies each and 20 shillings to the pound.

During the reign of David I in the 12th century, a pound Scots was introduced with a similar value to that of sterling, but over time, its value began to depreciate against the pound sterling.

At this stage Scotland was in a muddle with currency, with both the merk and the groat competing with the pound Scots.

There were also different mints in Scotland producing coins of differing weight and value. By the time of James VI in the 17th
century the pound Scots was pegged at 12 pounds Scots to one pound sterling.

The pound sterling only
became a Scottish currency after the Union and it is fair to suggest that perhaps it should not continue as a Scottish currency after the Union is dissolved.

M R McVIttie

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