PAS Finds

PAS Finds (w/e 12/05/23) – Society of Industry

My selection of the detecting finds recorded at the PAS during the week ended 12 May 2023.

Featured Find

Medal of the Society of Industry

Photo: The Portable Antiquities Scheme CC By SA2.0
Object type: Medal
Period: Post Medieval
Primary material: Copper alloy
Date found: 09/04/2023
Location: Spilsby, Lincolnshire

This is medal issued by the Society of Industry or to give it its full title “Society for the Promotion of Industry in the Southern District of Lindsey in the County of Lincoln”. It was founded in 1783 by Rev. Reynold Gideon Bouyer.

Rev. Reynold Gideon Bouyer

Reynold was born in London on 24 December 1741 and graduated from Cambridge University in 1769 when he became Domestic Chaplain at Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire under the patronage of the Duke of Ancaster. He was an energetic reformer and established the Society for Industry in which children were rewarded for learning to knit and to spin.1 Two years later he founded the Stuff Balls to encourage the spinning of worsted amongst the poor. Each year the titled patroness of the ball chose a colour for the following year so that a new dress would have to be purchased using “Lincolnshire Stuff”.2

Medals of the Society of Industry

The medals. which were produced in 1785, are the first known work of the famous medalist John Milton, who would later go on to work at the Mint. It is believed the chief engraver at the Mint, Lewis Pingo, recommended John to the Society.

On the obverse of the medal are robed figures of Peace and Plenty, beehive in background and the inscription SOCIETY OF INDUSTRY FOUNDED XXIX NOVEMBER MDCCLXXXII.

The society’s first accounts to April 1785 detailed the cost of the various medals3

14 plated medals for premiums£26 4s 6d
123 copper medals for premiums£2 6s 8d
7 silver and 2 plated medals for present to overseers£11 5 s 6d
57 silver medals for sale to subscribers£23 9s 2d
27 medals unpaid for£14 3s 6d

The “medals for premiums” were awarded prizes awarded to children producing the better work in each district, with the plated medals going to the best, along with the title “Queen of the Spinners“. Other medals were for overseers (administrators) or subscribers/benefactors, who funded the scheme. Below are two examples from different categories

Copper Medal for Premium

PAS record LIN-16C4CD

The only other Society for Industry medal recorded at the PAS is LIN-16C4CD; a copper alloy medal engraved on the back “5 PREMIUM / SAM WR[IG]HT / AGED 10 / 179[ ]”

Silver plated medals for subscribers/benefactors

Benefactor medal © Noonans

Noonans sold this medal in December 2017 for £85. It is inscribed Lord Brownlow, Benefactor. Lord Brownlow was also a Cambridge graduate.

Subscribers would pay 5 shillings annually whilst benefactors would pay lump sums, from 1 guinea to 10 guineas.

This find

This find is a silver plated medal.

Society of Industry medal

As usual, the recipient’s name is engraved on the back. It’s somewhat tarnished but the PAS record gives this as A WALLS / SEPTEMBER / 1785 over three lines.

As usual, I like to track down the person if I can and consulted The Third Edition of the society’s accounts4 Given the medal is plated, we are looking for a top prize winner or a subscriber. The other clue is that the medal was found in Spilsby. In the List of Subscribers of the Spilsby Class I found a Rev. Edward Walls, who was a trustee of the society, and below that “Mrs Walls”.

Mary Walls

Rev. Edward Walls (also a graduate from Cambridge) lived at Boothby Hall, Welton le Marsh in Spilsby with his wife Mary. I had a look at the photograph of the medal again and to my eye it could be an “M” instead of an “A”. Therefore, this medal was probably issued to Mary Walls, but why “September 1785”. On page 12 in the accounts is “That instead of Quarterly Meetings of the Committee there shall be meetings held on the following days, in the present year of 1785, viz …. At Spilsby, on Friday September 16“. As her husband was a trustee Mary could well have been on the Committee and awarded her medal at this meeting.

Tenuous connection

The Rev. Edward and Mary Walls built a house for themselves and a hostel for their friends in Skegness called the Moat House. The young Alfred Tennyson came on holiday.5 And in last week’s PAS Finds (w/e 05/04/23) – Tealby coinage we noted how the Tealby hoard was found on the land of Alfred’s grandfather.


Kev Woodward kindly informed us that the medal has now been cleaned which has enable a better reading of the inscription on the reverse:

Photo: PAS CC By SA2.0

It can now be seen that the inscription reads “Mrs Walls”. This confirms our tentative identification of the recipient being Mary Walls, wife of Rev. Edward Walls.


  1. Bouyer, Reynold Gideon – Priest, Reformer. Jean Howard, July 2016
  2. The Lincolnshire Stuff Ball. Joanne Major, August 2014
  3. John Milton, Medalist, T Stainton, BNJ 1983
  4. Society for the Promotion of Industry in the Southern District of Lindsey in the County of Lincoln, The Third Edition, 1789
  5. Memories of Tennyson

Selection of other finds

Photo: Sussex Archaeological Society CC By SA2.0

Penny of Erik of Pomerania

Only four coins of this ruler and type have been recorded on the PAS. As such, this coin has been recorded as a Find of Note of county importance.
Photo: The Portable Antiquities Scheme CC By SA2.0

“Hands on hips” figurine

A gilded copper alloy figurine with no direct parallels on the PAS. The report says that the hands on hips and posture suggest movement, perhaps dancing and it could be a toy or devotional object. A Find of Note of County Importance.
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments