The British farthing (derived from the Old English feorthing, a fourth part) was a British coin worth a quarter of an old penny (1⁄960 of a pound sterling). It ceased to be struck after 1956 and was demonetised from 1 January 1961.
The British farthing is a continuation of the English farthing, struck by English monarchs prior to the Act of Union 1707, which unified the crowns of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain. Only pattern farthings were struck under Queen Anne as there was a glut of farthings from previous reigns. The coin was struck intermittently under George I and George II, but by the reign of George III, counterfeits were so prevalent the Royal Mint ceased striking copper coinage after 1775. The next farthings were the first struck by steam power, in 1799 by Matthew Boulton at his Soho Mint under licence. Boulton coined more in 1806, and the Royal Mint resumed production in 1821. The farthing was struck fairly regularly under George IV and William IV. By then it carried a scaled-down version of the penny’s design, and would continue to mirror the penny and halfpenny until after 1936.
Farthings were struck in most years of Queen Victoria’s long reign. The coin continued to be issued in most years of the first half of the 20th century, and in 1937 it finally received its own reverse design, a wren. By the time the coin bore the portrait of Elizabeth II in 1953–1956, inflation had eroded its value. A fall in commercial demand also contributed to its demise.