Trouble in the banking world is nothing new.

TWO hundred years ago, Provincial Banks were numerous, Exeter alone had 12. Exmouth had only one, called the Exmouth and Devon General Bank.

TWO hundred years ago, Provincial Banks were numerous, Exeter alone had 12. Exmouth had only one, called the Exmouth and Devon General Bank. Started by Matthew Lee Yeates and William Good on October 12, 1809, it was situated where the Exe Lounge Fish and Chip shop is now situated (formerly the Sunlit Cafe) in Rolle Street.

In 1793, France declared war on England which led to a money shortage. With fears of an invasion, people started to hoard their gold and silver coins. The Central Government also failed to mint enough coins, due to a shortage of gold and silver in Europe. This resulted in difficulties maintaining trade and also paying workers. To combat this, some traders issued tokens and Provincial Banks produced �1 and �5 notes. These notes were the main currency for Exmouth town and surrounding areas during this time.

This curious situation operated smoothly, due to people being patriotic during the Napoleonic War. It was considered unpatriotic to go into a bank and ask for gold coins for paper money, but after the war all this changed, with people demanding gold coins for their bank notes, causing a run on many banks.

In November 1814 this happened to the Exmouth Bank, when it failed to exchange gold for paper money. This caused considerable panic in the town with rumours spreading like wildfire. There were near riots as paper money became worthless and a number of businesses were almost ruined.


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In 1792, The Exeter area had its only issue of tokens, known as the Bishop Blaize (also the Patron Saint of the Woollen Industry). 500,000 of these halfpenny tokens were minted in Birmingham for Local trader Samuel Kingdon.

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