Winchester has always been an important city, formerly the capital of England until some time after the Norman Conquest, capital of Wessex and then second only to London. It was established by King Egbert in 827 as his main city, and sacked by the Danes in 860. Its cathedral, originally built in 1079, has the longest nave and overall length of all the Gothic cathedrals in Europe and houses the shrine of St Swithin, bishop of Winchester in the mid-ninth century. For nearly four centuries, from the reign of Alfred to that of Henry III, Winchester had one of the four great mints of England, sometimes fourth in rank, sometimes second only to London. From the 880s to 1250, moneyers working in Winchester are believed to have produced a minimum of at least 24 million silver pennies.
In common with other provincial mints there were four moneyers appointed at Winchester. The moneyers being: Hugo Silvester, Jordan Drapparius, Nicholas Cupping and William Prior. Henry III pennies from Winchester commenced with class 2b1 from all four moneyers. Output of coins as indicated by Brussels Hoard data indicates fairly even production by the four moneyers, however Colchester data indicate Nicholas and William to be the more prolific.