Medieval Pilgrim and Secular Badges
Medieval Pilgrim and Secular Badges
MITCHINER, MICHAELMedieval Pilgrim and Secular Badges. Sanderstead 1986.The concept of pilgrimage, providing as it does the opportunity to contemplate some of the fundamental truths of life, is in no way restricted either to Christianity or to the Medieval period. So, the present study is concerned with only one small part of this human experience. In many respects the period that extended from Thomas Becket's martyrdom in 1170 until Henry VIII abolished the shrines during the late 1530's marked the heyday of pilgrimage in England. Concepts and preferences evolved and changed within this time span, as will be apparent in this book. Badges were popular pilgrim signs, but the same period also saw widespread popular use of badges with purely secular characteristics. The present study has therefore been extended beyond the pilgrim scene to embrace the field of contemporary secular badges and some forms of other ornamental dress fittings. Personal preference also evolved in this sphere through the course of time and the influence of the Wars of the Roses on the form of secular retainers' badges should not be underestimated. As recently as 1968 it was possible ot write that only about 1300 medieval pilgrim signs had been found in England. Since then the use of the metal detector has considerably increased that number. The badges catalogued here have been acquired by the author principally from finds made by a group of metal detector enthusiasts, popularly known as 'mudlarks', who belong to the restricted group possessing official licences to dig the Thames foreshaw in London. These items provide a representative picture of the badges lost by London's medieval inhabitabts and they also tell us something of their everyday life and of their travels to shrines, both near and far.288 pages, over 1,100 badges illustrated. Casebound.

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