"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


A Groat was a Fourpence - a former English silver coin worth four pennies.

According to Wikipedia the first groats were minted during the reign of Edward I (1272 to 1307). From the reigns of Charles II to George III, groats (by now often known as fourpences) were issued on an irregular basis for general circulation, up to 1800. After this the only circulating issues were from 1836 to 1855, with proofs known from 1857 and 1862 and a colonial issue of 1888. These last coins had the weight further reduced to about 27 grains (1.9 grams) and were the same diameter as the silver threepenny pieces of the day although thicker. They also had Britannia on the reverse, while all other silver fourpenny pieces since the reign of William and Mary have had a crowned numeral "4" as the reverse, including the silver fourpenny Maundy money coins of the present day. Some groats continued to circulate in Scotland until the 20th century.

Groats are also the hulled grains of various cereals, such as oats, wheat, barley or buckwheat. Groats from oats are a good source of avenanthramide. (Avenanthramides are antimicrobial substances synthesized by plants.)

1 comment:

  1. Didn't know about the coins; while I was reading I kept thinking - but isn't groats like some kind of porridge... But then you did include the grains at the end! ;) Could be added they're usually soaked and cooked before eating because they're hard to chew...