|Chelsea College was founded in 1610 by Dr Matthew Sutcliffe, Dean of Exeter, "to this intent, that learned men might there have maintenance to answere all the adversaries of religion." Archbishop Laud called it Controversy College, and the Roman Catholics in derision gave it the name of an alehouse. After the death of the third Provost, Dr Slater, suits were commenced in the Court of Chancery respecting the title, when it was decided that Dr Sutcliffe's estates should revert to their rightful heirs, upon their paying to the college certain sums of money. The college buildings were afterwards devoted to various inappropriate purposes, being at one time used as a receptacle for prisoners, and at another as a ridinghouse.|
In 1667 (the year in which this token was issued) Evelyn delivered by order to the Royal Society the possession of Chelsea College as a gift from Charles II. It was afterwards repurchased by that monarch (but query if the purchase-money was ever paid), and its site utilized for the present hospital.
It does not seem clear for what purpose or by whom the farthing was issued, but it may be mentioned that tokens were issued by the authorities of Newgate Prison and Christ's Hospital. [London, Nos. 2043 and 632-3.]
A specimen is in the possession of Mr J Eliot Hodgkin, FSA, and is probably unique. Notes and Queries, 7th S., March 10, 1888, P. 185.