Pilgrim souvenirs and secular badges.

Brian Spencer

Hardback. 349p, 332 b/w figs (The Stationery Office, Medieval Finds from Excavations in London 7, 1998, rep 2010).

Pilgrimage was a popular activity for all classes of medieval folk and, as with today's travellers, it became customary to bring back mementos from their journeys. Such souvenirs ranged from unworked natural objects such as palm leaves from the Holy Land or perishable items of wood, leather or vellum, but luckily for us, most popular were mass produced tin-lead alloy badges cast in moulds. Here is a catalogue of hundreds of badges acquired by Londoners or visitors to London between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries, the majority of which have been excavated from Thames waterfront sites, in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. The finds are arranged according to shrine - the Canterbury pilgrimage, other English shrines and cults of Our Lady and Our Lord, and European shrines of France, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Low Countries and Scotland. Individually they are sometimes incredibly intricate and beautiful pieces; together they constitute a remarkable stock of information about this medieval religious - and social - custom. This invaluable study has now been reprinted at a special low price.

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