Apostle spoons were particularly popular in Pre-Reformation times when belief in the services of a patron saint was strong. They symbolize the Last Supper of Christ in the company of the Apostles. They were especially popular in England, but were also found in large numbers in Germany and France.
Apostle spoons originated in early 15c. in Europe, and were intended for use at the table. By the 16c. they had become popular as baptismal presents for godchildren. They first appeared as a bequest in the will of one Amy Brent who, in 1516, bequeathed "XIII sylver spones of J' hu and the XII Apostells". They are alluded to by the dramatists Ben Johnson, Thomas Middleton, Francis Beaumont, and John Fletcher. Shakespeare refers to them in Henry VIII. In some communities this tradition continued until at least the mid 20c.
Apostle spoons were sometimes produced in sets of thirteen, the thirteenth (the 'Saviour' or 'Master' spoon) showing Jesus. The British Museum in London has a set from England dating from 1536-7 with the Virgin Mary on the thirteenth spoon.
Complete sets of apostle spoons are currently uncommon, and may be found on ebay.
The Edward VII sovereign was minted, bright and new, in 1902; the portrait was the work of Mr. de Saulles.
A 'sovereign' = a £1 gold coin depicting the monarch on the obverse, and St George on the reverse.
- He shot from it two crowns and two shillings.
- Three twelve, he said. I think you'll find that's right." (U2.219)
£sd = pounds, shillings, pence
£1 = 4 crowns = 20 shillings = 120 pence
1 guinea = £1 + 1s
2s coin = florin
Stephen's pay of 'three twelve' means 3 pounds and 12 shillings. It can be written as £3-12-0 or £3/12/0.
Mr Deasy gives it as: 2 £1 notes + 1 sovereign + 2 crowns (= 10s) + 2s.
The next step is understanding this postcard!
- No thanks at all, Mr Deasy said. You have earned it." (U2.223)
This PC shows details of Edwardian currency.
- Don't carry it like that, Mr Deasy said. You'll pull it out somewhere and lose it. You just buy of of these machines. You'll find them very handy.
Answer something." (U2.226)
The same room and hour, the same wisdom: and I the same. Three times now. Three nooses round me here. Well? I can break them in this instant if I will." (U2.232)
From a traditional French saying: 'Si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait' = 'If youth but knew, if old age but could...'
- Iago, Stephen murmured.
He lifted his gaze from the idle shells to the old man's stare.
- He knew what money was, Mr Deasy said. He made money. A poet, yes, but an Englishman too. Do you know what is the pride of the English? Do you know what is the proudest word you will ever hear from an Englishman's mouth?" (U2.245)