For centuries, tourism was a pursuit largely reserved for nobility. By the Middle Ages though, the rise of Christianity and success of the crusades saw a surge in pilgrimages across all classes, for religious salvation, to pray for relatives or simply to escape the misery of medieval life. This was the first time people were travelling en masse for reasons other than war, trade or industry – and was the beginning of tourism proper.
Object of VIP13: The Final
Over the past fortnight the Museum of London’s Archaeological Archive has taken to these blog pages to dazzle you with the cream of the crop of our archaeological collections. In each of the three preliminary rounds, five objects have battled for your favour in an effort to determine which has been the best artefact that our volunteers have come across during the 13th Volunteer Inclusion Project (VIP13). Here are the final three: Read the full post
Object of VIP13 – Round 1
One of the favourite aspects of our Volunteer Inclusion Programme is that we come across loads of incredible artefacts spanning London’s history. And during our current project we’ve encountered some beauties. What we then like to do is get them battling it out, with you, The Great Blog Reading Public, helping to decide which is the very best. No real reason to do this apart from fun. So let’s get started.
Some of the highlights of the Museum of London’s medieval collection are the pilgrim souvenirs from Thomas Becket’s shrine in Canterbury. This shrine was the most important in the country in the medieval period and thousands of Londoners would have made the four-day journey to Canterbury Cathedral, bringing back small pewter badges and holy water bottles as proof of their visit. Read the full post
Recently there has been an exciting new addition to the Museum of London’s fantastic pilgrim souvenir collection: a badge from the shrine of the Holy Blood at Gottsbüren in Germany, which was found on the Thames foreshore at Three Cranes Wharf. Very few pilgrim souvenirs from this shrine have been found in London, though more have been found on the continent in places like the Low Countries, Germany and Scandinavia.
In the medieval period, the relics of some of the major figures of the Christmas story were revered at various holy shrines across the Christian world. Many medieval Londoners would have made arduous, sometimes lengthy and often dangerous journeys to worship at these shrines in the hope of salvation, healing, for thanksgiving or to atone for sins. Read the full post
Cataloguing the Museum’s collection of medieval pilgrim badges for Collections Online has been a great opportunity for me to look really closely at our objects and sometimes to find out that items are not at all what they appear to be. A great example recently has been a tiny little badge in the shape of a comb.