Communion Tokens

Vouchers of fitness to receive Communion, usually stamped pieces of metal, but also written tickets. “Houselling” tokens, given after confession to admit penitents to Communion, are noted in England in 1534, and from about 1561 mereaux (or marreaux) were used in the French Reformed Church. From the Reformation in Scotland the distribution of Communion tokens after catechizing of the recipients was strictly controlled by the kirk session. French tokens were round, but various shapes were used in Scotland. Early Scottish tokens bear only the initial of the parish and “K” (for “Kirk”), but later ones bear also the date and the minister's initials. The Communion card now used is more a check on attendance than a token.