The Stamp and Coin Place Blog: connecting the past and present of stamp and coin collecting, and looking to the future.

Christ’s Hospital Boarding School Coins

The Great Hall of Christ’s Hospital in the 19th century.

Christ’s Hospital is, in fact, not a hospital at all. Instead, it’s a boarding school in Sussex, England that gives poorer children the chance for education that they would so often miss out on. The school’s founders started it in the 16th century.

It all started as a vision of King Edward VI, and the vision saw fruition starting in the year 1552.

The Hospital saw its fair share of catastrophes over the years. Thirty-two children died during the Great Plague of 1665. The next year, the Great Fire of London demolished most of the Hospital – but with no casualties. The children were sent away so the school could be rebuilt.

A second royal charter in 1673 created the Royal Mathematical School branch of the Hospital, which trained future naval officers and seafarers.

A few famous names passed through the school, including the poet and philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the writer Charles Lamb, and the writer & critic Leigh Hunt.

The school’s Tudor uniform, including long blue coats, knee-breeches, yellow socks, and neck bands, stays the same to this day. Students even voted on whether they wanted to keep or update the uniform, and 95% voted to keep the traditional uniform as it was.

Some interesting tokens emerged from the school. The school did not allow students to buy anything outside its gates; any current currency found in students’ possession was confiscated.

Christ Hospital001

Instead, the students received coins created by the school itself, for use inside its walls by the boys of the school. These coins have delightful designs for such selective currency, including designs such as this one, with a bust of Edward VI on one side and an open bible on the obverse, with the words “Hear – Read – Mark – Learn”. The boys called these coins “Housey-money”.

Christ Hospital002

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