Medieval and Contemporary Pilgrimage

Historic questions, thoughts and other interesting stuff

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RRPTVresearch
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Medieval and Contemporary Pilgrimage

Postby RRPTVresearch » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:09 pm

Hello all,

I am currently researching a TV series on pilgrimage during the medieval ages and current routes people still use today and was hoping to seek the fantastic advice offered on this forum.

I am looking to understand the following things and would be very grateful for any advice you could give me:
1. What was it like for the Medieval Pilgrim - what they wore, what they ate, how they dressed.
2. Pilgrimage Sites and any interesting information/ stories/ anecdotes about them.
3. Sources that we could use to understand pilgrimage better (ideally other than Chaucer and Margery Kempe as we have lots of information on these.)
4. Sites today it would be worth visiting in the UK - we have researched Walsingham, Canterbury, Aylesford, Iona, St Cuthberts Way, Pilgrims Way, Holy Island and St. Albans. We are very interested in sites on the way from Walsingham to Canterbury (probably through London).

Many thanks,
Richard



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Brother Ranulf
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Re: Medieval and Contemporary Pilgrimage

Postby Brother Ranulf » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:39 pm

First I would emphasise very strongly that the details you requested on pilgrim dress, their experiences on the road and even the places they visited changed greatly over the very long medieval period. In the 12th century (the dawn of the great age of pilgrimage) there were no official documents, no letters of authority, no certificates provided at shrines and so on. By the 14th century all these things were necessary and no pilgrimage could take place without them. Even pilgrim badges evolved over time, from small seal-shaped badges and ampullae in the 12th century to complex and diverse - even erotic - badges by Chaucer's time.

In the 12th century it was mainly the Church that provided the infrastructure for pilgrimages at monastic "hospitals" (guest houses) and infirmaries; gradually more and more private hospitals were established by wealthy merchants and other laymen, operating alongside the monastic ones.

The best-researched and most detailed modern study of the subject is "The Age of Pilgrimage" by Jonathan Sumption.

Excellent contemporary accounts can be found here:

Theoderich, Guide to the Holy Land (1172) published in English by Italica Press as a paperback, ISBN: 978-0934977036

Wright, T. (1848) Early Travels in Palestine. URL: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/40131/40 ... 0131-h.htm

Sæwulf, Relatio de peregrinatione Sæwulfi ad Hierosolymam et Terram Sanctam (1102-1103), The Library of the Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society, 4, London 1896

A good starting point is the infamous Codex Calixtinus, Book V: A Guide for the Traveller, of about 1138 which formed the basis for all journeys to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela from the 12th century onwards. It is infamous as a document for having recently been stolen by a disgruntled Spanish workman and later (thankfully) recovered intact.
Last edited by Brother Ranulf on Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:55 am, edited 1 time in total.


Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

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Brother Ranulf
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Re: Medieval and Contemporary Pilgrimage

Postby Brother Ranulf » Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:54 am

This website gives a very good idea of the kinds of spectacular things pilgrims would see at some of the major English shrines, including various reliquaries and monuments, all of which were destroyed under Henry VIII:

http://www.historyfish.net/shrines/british_shrines.html

I have a detailed list of all the medieval shrines in England, Wales and Scotland and what relics each held - there were more than 150 sites in total. For some time I have been researching the pilgrim experience during the 12th century and I have recently written an article on that subject for a German publication. This looks at reasons for making pilgrimages, the kinds of people who went, how they dressed, accommodation and food, early pilgrim signs, the dangers and difficulties they faced and the religious background. Let me know if you need any assistance specifically relating to that period as I have extensive research notes, much of it in the original Latin.


Brother Ranulf



"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

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Grymm
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Re: Medieval and Contemporary Pilgrimage

Postby Grymm » Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:11 pm

Actually the majority of sites, ceremonies and relics were destroyed during Edward VI's reign under the supervision of Protector Somerset and Bishop Cranmer but No.8 always gets the blame as more people have heard of him than Ed.6


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Re: Medieval and Contemporary Pilgrimage

Postby Langley » Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:18 am

Richard, Tintern is worth looking into because of the pilgrimages to see the "Our Lady of Tintern". Did you know the locals had restored a statue (quite modern, made by someone who owes alleigance to Gill). First thing to have been put back in a monastic site since Henry VIII did what he did to the original. We did a "pilgrimage" (all the way from the parish church at the other end of the village) on the day of the ecumenical service of dedication. Interestingly, the congregation was 70% non-catholic. We have been back since in our 15C pilgrim attire to the annual service. PM me and we can exchange phone numbers if you want more details. Incidentally - my wife posed for the sculptor to get the fall of a woolen mantle right which was a boot spooky on account of her ancestry - she is descended from the man who was the last abbot and had the job of handing over the keys.




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