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Did Richard “touch” for the King’s Evil…?

I have just bought an interesting and absorbing  book, the ‘Encyclopaedia of Superstitions’ by E & M Radford, originally published in 1949.

Reaching the section on the King’s Evil (scrofula, which was believed to be cured by the touch of the monarch) I read: ‘The practice was introduced by Henry VII of presenting the person “touched” with a small gold or silver coin.” It seems that Dr Johnson was given one that had St George and the Dragon on one side and a ship on the other. Some of them have a hole pierced through them, so they could be worn around the neck.

Intrigued, I Googled “touch piece” and found other sites, including the following, which has  an excellent photograph of several such coins.

Another much more detailed article about these touch pieces at

My question is, did Richard ever “touch” those with scrofula? I know his reign was very brief, but even so, did he find time to do this?

Henry's touchpieces

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2 thoughts on “Did Richard “touch” for the King’s Evil…?

  1. As far as I know there is no record of it, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t. If it was considered a ‘normal’ thing for a monarch to do, it might not have been noted. I thought it was Edward IV who introduced the gold angels as touch pieces. It was supposed to show the monarch was chosen by God, in which case Richard might well have used it to ‘prove’ his right. Here is the piece I wrote:


  2. viscountessw on said:

    Yes, Joanne, there seem to be conflicting dates/kings. It sounds more like Edward IV than Old ‘Enery.

    Liked by 1 person

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