Shepherd's Pilgrim Badges
Reproduction Pilgrim Badges.
British made, lead-free English pewter.
All badges are supplied with lapel pin fixings .
39 different badges currently available.
These pilgrim badges are reproductions of souvenirs that were collected by pilgrims between the late 12th and early 16th century.
Many of the originals were retrieved from the banks of the River Thames during the 1970's, 1980's and early 1990's.
During the medieval period badges were collected and worn by pilgrims travelling to native religious sites such as Canterbury and Walsingham and also further afield to places such as Santiago di Compostela in Spain. Even today you will see modern day pilgrims arriving on foot or on horseback at Compostela. Pilgrimages were undertaken for many reasons as well as religious grounds i.e. to obtain forgiveness, to secure protection from a saint or just to escape home. Pilgrimages became a social occasion incorporating pleasure and piety. Pilgrims needed to prove they had been on a 'journey' and would return with acquired pieces from the different shrines, not unlike souvenir hunters. The response to this problem of the descecration of shrines was to manufacture and sell souvenirs.
Badges were mass produced and the archaeological finds that you can see in the Museum of London offer us an insight into medieval life, religious practices and beliefs. Badges were attached to clothing particularly broad brimmed hats which protected the traveller from the elements. The scallop shell of St James Compostela is a symbolic icon, these were carried and used as eating and drinking vessels. The martyrdom of Thomas Becket provided the pilgims to Canterbury with some intricate and delicate badges such at Becket's Exile. The badges above include livery badges which were worn to show allegiance such as the Wild Boar and Star in Crescent. Other badges celebrate feats of arms and sports such as the Archer or the Hawking badge.
Many of the original badges were found on the banks of the Thames. A common practise was to throw a badge into the river for good luck. Others badges found are non-religious; they are playful, satirical, heraldic and amatory. For more information on Pilgrim Badges and Secular Badges, I recommend you purchase Brian Spencer's book PILGRIM SOUVENIRS AND SECULAR BADGES.