The Moneyer

Trevor explains why and how he wrote ‘The Moneyer’:

‘I was interested in the medieval story of Magdalen Street. I knew that from the early 10th century Northwic had a mint and so produced its own coins. The coins included the name of the moneyer, the person in charge of the mint. These were the earliest-named inhabitants of Northwic. Some of them were German names which suggested they may have been German migrants. The penalty for producing impure or light coins was severe – loss of your right hand unless judgement by ordeal indicated you were innocent. I wanted to write a protest song from the point of view of an unhappy migrant moneyer. I knew some First World War songs and so the first part of the song I wrote was “ I don’t want to be a money’r”  which is an adaptation of “I don’t want to be a soldier.”

I was singing this song in March/ April at various meetings of the Anglia Square Research Group. Each time I sang it I had to give a long explanation of what was behind it. It became clear to me that, if I wanted to develop it into a spot performance piece for the show, I would have to turn my explanation into another part of the song. I then decided I would like to grab people’s attention by starting the piece with a demonstration chant and then I came up with “No more money’r mutilation!”. This became the first part of the final song. What I had written as a song in March/April became the third part of the final song. The second part of that song was a condensing of the explanation of what the song was about.

Having discussed it with Siobhan (the ‘Spots’ Director), it was clear that the song should involve dance and actions and one or two other people besides me. My partner, Sarah, designed and made a tabard for me to wear for the performances. I sang the song about 25 times during six of the eight shows with various different assistants.

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