Pilgrim badges and the birth of tourism

By james read, guest blog author on 26 Aug 2015
Curator looking at medieval Pilgrim Badges

Curator looking at medieval Pilgrim Badges

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.

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We Three Kings of Museum of London Are…

By meriel jeater on 24 Dec 2013

 

Pilgrim badge depicting golden church-shaped box that held the relics of the kings

Pilgrim badge depicting golden church-shaped box that held the relics of the kings


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.
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Losing his head: John Schorn – an unofficial saint

By meriel jeater on 9 Jan 2013
Head from scorn badge

Head fragment from a John Schorn Badge

Over the last year I have been cataloguing the Museum of London’s amazing collection of over 700 pilgrim badges and souvenirs (that’s just the badges in the museum’s reserve collection – we have even more in our Archaeological Archive!). Read the full postRead the full post