Volunteers Gail Davis and Kate Wickson gave a very interesting talk on Pilgrim Badges at one of our Volunteer coffee mornings recently.

The Salisbury Museum website offers the photo above and these notes about one of the more magnificent examples of a pilgrim badge from our collections:

“This pilgrim badge portrays Our Lady of Tombelaine: Tombelaine is a tiny island close to Mont St Michel off the coast of France. This object was probably brought back to Salisbury as a souvenir of a pilgrimage. 

During the medieval period, souvenirs, in the form of badges and ampullae (miniature holy water flasks), were usually made and sold at religious shrines to visitors who wanted to take home visible proof of their pilgrimage. The badges were usually cast in moulds and made in a tin-lead alloy or, more rarely, precious metals. The badges were usually worn in the hat and identified the pilgrim as someone who needed support and hospitality on the journey. They also served as an aid to devotion because of their supposed contact with a particular shrine.

Most of the pilgrim souvenirs from Salisbury were found in medieval watercourses, suggesting that they may have been thrown into rivers deliberately as offerings by returning pilgrims.”

If you haven’t explored the exciting material which we have on-line, please do, by clicking here. 

And in connection with that talk by Gail and Kate, Volunteer Peter Read said “Thank you for a stimulating morning. All most interesting. ” and sent a link to a Dan Towse, who experiments with re-creating medieval tin ampullae and other aspects of medieval industry.