There was a mint in Shrewsbury during the 10th Century producing coins for the Saxon kings but this had closed by the time of the Norman invasion. During the reign of Henry I, there were several mints throughout Britain but the quality of the coins produced began to deteriorate as the silver content was reduced. At the Assize of Winchester on Christmas Day 1124, all the mint masters were punished by having their right hands cut off. Not surprisingly, this produces a temporary improvement in the quality of the coinage.
By 1158, Henry II was concerned that English coinage was not only poor in quality but there were many variants. Nobles had produced their own coins during the civil war of Stephen’s reign and these were still in circulation. He thus declared that coinage was a royal monopoly and introduced the distinctive “long cross” coinage. Following on from this, he changed the administrative structure of the English mints and in 1180 introduced the “short cross” coinage. Shrewsbury mint had reopened in 1158 due to Henry II’s monetary reform but closed again in 1162 after minting only the first issues of the long cross coins.