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Charles II admission ticket to the ceremony for Touching for the King's Evil. c.1660

2.98 cm (diameter) | RCIN 443148

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  • At the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II reintroduced to England the ceremony of 'Touching for the King’s Evil' – an ancient practice carried out in the belief that the monarch possessed a Christ-like ability to cure victims of scrofula (a disease of the lymph nodes) by laying his hand upon them.

    By the reign of Charles II's father, Charles I, the numbers of sufferers from scrofula coming forward for the touching ceremonies had grown so large that a method of preventing abuse of the system had to be found. This took the form of tokens in brass, copper or bronze which were issued by surgeons who examined the patients, and certified that they were genuine cases appropriate for the king's ceremony. At the ceremony, the patient would hand the token to the officials, before receiving the touchpiece from the king, and thus a tally could be kept of how many gold touchpieces had been issued. A 'healing piece' or 'touchpiece', given to the sufferers at the ceremony, showed that the patient had been touched by the monarch.

    This admission token to a healing ceremony carried out by Charles II is made of copper. It is rather larger than a gold touchpieces issued during Charles II's reign, but it has the same images and legends.

    Entry adapted from Charles II: Art & Power, (London: 2017)
  • Medium and techniques

    2.98 cm (diameter)

    11.15 g (Weight) (whole object)