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This web site is intended to be an online resource for people wishing to learn about the coiners and their activities. Because of the extent of the gang, many people who can trace their ancestry back to residents of the Cragg Vale area at the time will find that their ancestors also had a part to play in the story of the Coiners.

The web site is set out to answer the following questions:
Where - did the Yorkshire Coiners operate?
What - did the Coiners do?
Why - did they do what they did?
Who - was in the gang and who brought the gang to justice?
When - did all this take place?

This updated web site is the result of over four years of research during which I was also writing a book on the subject of the Coiners. The project started out by placing the existing published material into chronological order to assist with the development of the feature film "The Last Coiner" by Peter Kershaw of Duchy Parade Films.

In researching my book, I found that a great deal of archive information existed which had never been published before and in some cases actually proved that some of the existing publications (from which this website had previously relied upon for information) did in fact contain inaccuracies. It is the result of that research that has enabled me to update this web site and correct some of those inaccuracies.

This web site covers the 18th century events surrounding a gang of criminals operating in the area to the west of Halifax, whose effect on the coin in the Kingdom was acknowledged at the highest levels in Government. This resulted in the House’s of Parliament  being drawn into debate over the affairs of the gang, and officers of the Royal Mint  being despatched to apprehend its members.

Less than ten miles due south of Haworth in West Yorkshire, where Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte grew up in the early 19th century, the same rugged landscape that inspired Wuthering Heights played host to a sinister story of organised social crime, High Treason  and ultimately murder, some forty years before the Bronte sisters were born.

This particular gang of Yorkshire Coiners are perhaps more accurately referred to as the Cragg Vale or Turvin Coiners due to their base being in an area just off the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire

The Cragg Vale Coiners clipped and filed the edges of gold coins and return the clipped coins to circulation. The Coiners used the gold collected from several coins to cast blanks and stamp new coins using skilfully made dies. These new coins, usually Portuguese Moidores or Spanish Pistoles were then put into circulation and as a result the Coiners made a healthy profit.

The photograph on the left (click for full size image) shows the ruins of St Thomas a Beckett Church in Heptonstall with the two graves of my ancestors visible in the foreground on the right of the picture.

Beneath the two long gravestones lie the remains of "King" David Hartley (from whom I am descended) and Isaac Hartley, known as the "Duke of York" as well as other family members. Their 'royal' titles were given to them by the members of the gang as a reflection of their status at the head of the Cragg Vale Coiners gang.

David Hartley was buried here in 1770 after being executed by hanging at York Tyburn for the part he played in leading the Cragg Vale Coiners, though the only charges he actually faced were for clipping a Guinea with another man.

Despite being acknowledged in many documents of the time as the man that organised the murder of the man who was instrumental in David Hartley's arrest, Isaac Hartley was never prosecuted  and died an old man in 1815 and was buried in the grave next to his brother.

The Hartley Family

'King' David Hartley is my great, great, great, great, great grandfather. A separate section of this web site describes my own links to the leader of the Cragg Vale Coiners and the history of my family to the present day, including their presence in the local area after the coiners were gone.

A copy of my family tree, together with details of census records, probate records, memorial inscriptions and family bible records indicate the direct male link between David Hartley and me, which to my knowledge is the only direct male link remaining.

I hope this web site is of interest.

Steven Hartley

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