Set of six protest shillings, 1839-1913. 'Protest shillings' were used by the Masters of Trinity House to mark their objections to issues being discussed at their meetings. These silver coins were tabled by Commissioners at Trinity House in token of protest and dissent from resolutions of Commissioners. Starting from the top, the first two shillings were presented by Mr Smith in 1906. They are two Queen Victoria shillings and both are displayed showing the reverse side.

The coin to the left offers an example of 'jubilee head' shilling. The obverse design features the robed bust of the mature Victoria, adorned with jewellery, veil, and a small crown. The reverse shows a shield with the royal crown above. The quadrants represent member kingdoms of the UK: three lions for England, one lion for Scotland, and harp for Ireland. The design is surrounded by a garter. The obverse legend reads 'VICTORIA DEI GRATIA BRITT: REGINA F: D:’ The Latin inscription translates as: Victoria by the grace of God Queen of all the Britains, Defensor of the Faith. The motto 'HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE', is quoted at garter on the reverse. This means ' shame is on whoever thinks evil of it'.

The coin to the right offers an example of 1897 'veiled' or 'widowed' head shilling. The obverse design features the older veiled bust of Queen Victoria, adorned in jewellery. Three crowned shields with a rose, thistle, and shamrock inside a garter are on the reverse. The obverse legend reads 'VICTORIA-DEI-GRA-BRITT-REGINA-FID-DEF-IND-IMP-', this translates as: Victoria by the grace of God Queen of all the Britains, Defensor of the Faith, Emperor of India. The denomination of the coin 'ONE SHILLING 'is at legend on the reverse, with the date below, 1897.

The two coins below offer an example of George V UK shillings and were presented by Mr Cross and Mr Gibson in 1913. They are both displayed showing the reverse side. The obverse design features the bare head of the king, while a lion above royal crown is on the reverse. The legend reads 'GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: BRITT: OMN: REX' on the obverse. This translates as: George V by the Grace of God King of all the Britains. The reverse quotes 'FID DEF IND IMP', with denomination of the coin, ONE SHILLING, and date, 1913, at the sides. The Latin inscription means ' Defensor of the Faith, Emperor of India'.

The last two coins in this set were presented by Mr Weir in 1906. They both show the reverse side of two Queen Victoria shillings.

The first coin to the left offers an example of 'young head' shilling. The obverse design features the bust of young Queen Victoria with ribbons in her hair. The reverse bears the denomination 'ONE SHILLING' at the centre, with the royal crown above and a small scroll below. An oak wreath tied with a bow surrounds the design, with the date below. The obverse legend reads: 'VICTORIA DEI GRATIA BRITANNIAR: REG: F: D:’ This Latin inscription translates as: Victoria by the grace of God Queen of all the Britains, Defensor of the Faith.

The last coin to the right offers another example of 'jubilee head', with same features as the first coin of this set.

Trinity House

Trinity House and its remarkable historic collections give amazing insights into Leith’s celebrated maritime past. The present building was the Port of Leith headquarters of the Incorporation of Mariners and Shipmasters for nearly 200 years.

This charity was set up to support the needs of injured and retired seamen and their families. Its origins can be traced back to 1380, when it was granted the right to levy a tax known as prime gilt on goods imported into Leith.

Thomas Brown designed the elegant Georgian building that now stands on the Kirkgate. It was built in 1816 on the site of a former Trinity House and hospital dating from before 1550.

Read more on the history of Trinity House [PDF, 8MB]

Maritime treasure house

The layout and historic furnishings of Trinity House still have many unique features that emphasise its former maritime function.

The War Memorial Window designed by W.J.R. Cook in 1933 honours local merchant sailors who died in the First World War. It was rededicated in 1945 for those killed in the Second World War.

The ground floor has a grand entrance and inner hall, with a unique collection of chairs commissioned by the Incorporation from the Edinburgh cabinetmaker William Trotter. Off the hall is the Master’s Room, a cosy space with a fine collection of paintings showing Leith as a busy commercial port in the 1700s and 1800s.

The highlight of Trinity House is the Convening Room on the upper floor, where the Incorporation held meetings around the long mahogany table. Maritime subjects feature in the ceiling’s ornate plaster friezes, and the table now displays a fascinating variety of objects to do with shipping, navigation and the whaling industry.

On display in the room are:

  • navigational instruments
  • wartime charts
  • whaling harpoons
  • rare objects such as narwhal tusks
  • ship models – ranging from early whaling ships to modern merchant ships

Hung on the walls are portraits of famous mariners and former Masters of the Incorporation – some by the great Edinburgh artist Sir Henry Raeburn. Vasco da Gama Encountering the Spirit of the Storm, a huge oil painting by the Scottish artist David Scott, is also on display.

The vaults below the building, which date from the 1500s, once housed a school for young mariners.


Find out more about Trinity House


Date Made
dia 23mm (dia 7/8")
Time Period
Property Information
Trinity House
Object Number
Access Status