Depicting a foot soldier of Dutch origin.
The original was found in Canterbury and copied. Other similar badges have been found in London. Archery was extremely important as a pastime but also as a formidable weapon of war.14th Century
16. Longbow Badge
The archery law of 1363 decreed every man between 16 and 60 had to equip themselves with a bow. It could also be a love token as the bow and arrow were a popular symbol of male virility in medieval times. Original found in Salisbury 15th Century.
14. Yorkist Star
An heraldic ‘estoile’ possibly representing the Star of Bethlehem, relating to a relic of the Nativity.
Though the sunburst was also a Yorkist badge.
The original found in London had traces of gold gilding. 1450.
12.The Virgin and Child.
Set in an elaborate architectural border, it is suggested that this badge relates to Our Lady of Walsingham or possibly Our Lady of Willesden.
The Museum of London have similar originals of a later period.14th century.
13. Star in Crescent
This is a popular Plantagenet symbol. Wearing this showed political and military allegiance to the Plantagenet cause. Popular during the reigns of Richard I and Edward I. 15th Century.
The Medieval sport of Hawking/ Falconry was a favourite form of hunting. It was a sport of royalty. Lower class Medieval people such as peasants and serfs could not afford to train the birds, therefore this would be a badge for the wealthier folk.
Late 14th century.
15. Sun and Rose
Yorkist symbol of Edward IV had its origins at the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross 1461. The York army saw the illusion of three suns in the sky, thus victory for the Yorkist’s ensured that the illusion would be seen forever as a good omen. In this badge, the sun has been joined with another Yorkist badge, the rose. Original found in Salisbury.
Not only a symbol of lust and amorous intent in the tradition of Chanticler as immortalised in Chaucer’s Nuns/Priests Tale. But also of strong religious significance symbolising vigilance, hence used as a weathervane watching for the powers of evil.
Original found in London.14th-15th century
The white boar was the favoured symbol of followers of Richard III. The word ‘boar’ may also be a pun on the latin word for York ‘ebor’. In wardrobe accounts for Richard’s coronation in 1483, thousands of boar badges were produced. Based on an original found in Sussex 15th century
More badges on the next page.
2. The Owl
Most of us know of the wise old owl, but the owl has many contradictory beliefs. Feared and venerated, but also despised and admired. The owl had a very different reputation in the Middle Ages. It was a bird of ill-omen, believed to frequent tombs and dark caves.
Original found in River Seine France
8. Crowned 'D'
Letters were commonly formed into the framework of badges made in the 14th and 15th centuries.
The crown may be of religious significance, Christ being the King and Mary the Queen.
The letter ‘D' represents Dominus - God.
25. St. Werburga
St. Werburga was the daughter of King Wulfhere of Mercia. She refused to marry and insisted that she become a nun at Ely. As a Benedictine nun she became patroness of Chester. She was reputed to have the ability to read the minds and was revered in her lifetime for miracles including the story of the flock of geese.
Original found in London.
27. St George of Windsor
Born around 280 AD in what is today modern Turkey, George was a cavalry officer in the Roman army, but executed for his Christian faith; he was an inspiration for many. The legend of the slaying of the dragon was emblematic of the triumph of good over evil. Around the border of the badgein Latin is written 'sce George ora pro nobis' (Saint George pray for us).15th century.
Original found in London.
22. St. Catherine of Alexandria
Catherine was a legendary 4th century martyr condemned to die on a wheel for her Christian beliefs. At her touch, the wheel of torture was destroyed. After being beheaded with a sword, her body was miraculously transported to Mount Sinai. A church and monastery were built in her honour. Originals like this one have been found in London and Canterbury.
24. St. Edward the Confessor
Reigning from 1042-66, Edward was known for his generosity to the poor and to the infirm. He is known for the rebuilding of Westminster Cathedral. In 1161 Edward was canonised, his shrine in Westminster Abbey attracted Royal and popular patronage during the medieval period.
Similar badges have been found on a Medieval church site Northampton.
Late 14th-15th century.
19. Folly badge - The Humane Rider
This badge depicts a popular Medieval proverb. The thoughtful rider attempts to ease some of the burden from his horse by carrying the sack of corn whilst still on the horse. This image can be seen from 12th century art onwards and was popular in Norfolk.
Original found in the Netherlands and dates from the 15th century.