framed pilgrims2


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.

4. Cockerel

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

6.Wild Boar

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.

23. Saint Olaf

Olaf was a viking warrior and  King of Norway 1015-1030. In trying to convert his country to Christianity, his people turned against him. Axeheads found are unlikely to be connected with St. Olaf even though he is usually seen with an axe the emblem of his martyrdom. His cult spread widely in the middle ages, in London he was popularly revered.

14th -15th century

21. Our Lady of the Undercroft

This badge with the s-shaped link would be attached as a trinket or pendant. The fleur de lys is associated with the shrine of Our Lady of the  Undercroft of Canterbury. This badge is supplied with a leaf pendant.  Early 15th century.

Original found in Salisbury, others have been found  in London & Canterbury.

18. St. Edmund

Edmund surrendered himself to the Vikings after defeat at Thetford 869 refusing to give up Christianity. He was tied to a tree, shot with arrows and beheaded. A wolf found the head, followed the funeral to Hoxne and the head rejoined to the body. After many miracles, a shrine was formed at Bury where the Benedictine Abbey was later founded. Original found Salisbury.

1.Acorn and Oak Leaves

The acorn and oak leaf are widely used for decoration on all things medieval as it symbolises life, immortality and strength. But it is not entirely clear as to the real meaning. However, it may have been worn as a livery badge by the household and followers of the FitzAlan Earls of Arundel in support of the noble family

14th/15th century

7. Crowned 'A'

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. This badge, is a lover's token with the 'A' representing "Amor Vincit Omnia" which translates "Love Conquers All"


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.

14th/15th Century

Original found in River Seine France

9. Crowned 'R'

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.

This one may have been produced in honour and support of Richard III.

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.

5.Hare and Hound

A popular country pursuit, using greyhounds for hunting hares. Some humour depicted on this badge with the hare hiding beneath the hound who hunts by sight, not smell!Original found in Salisbury.

Late 14th century/early 15th Century.


set 4
set 5

11. Fleur de Lys


Representing the Virgin's Lily,  the Flower of Innocence, the symbol of the Virgin Mary.

Linked to the shrine at Walsingham a very popular pilgrimage site, but also associated with the shrine to Our Lady of the Undercroft Canterbury.


set 7
set 9

28. Saint Barbara

St. Barbara is patron saint of armourers, artillery men, firemen, architects, mathematicians; she protects against sudden death, fire, lightning and explosions. She is holding the  martyr's palm and open book The tower is shown where she was imprisoned before her martyrdom. She became very popular late 15th and early 16th century.

Original found in London

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.

15th Century

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.

26.St James of Compostela

The shrine became one of the three great pilgrimages along  with Rome and Jerusalem by 12th century.

The scallop was recognised as the universal symbol of pilgrimage and could not be restricted to Compostela. In this example the image of St James, dressed in pilgrim's attire, has been incorporated into the design.

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.

3. Badge of Charles the Bold's Archer Bodyguards

Charles the Bold of Burgundy employed an elite guard of archers including many English Archers. The badge shows two crossed arrows and a fire strike and it was likely to identify the archers in the 1470's. Expensive embroidered versions would have been worn by archers, pewter ones are likely to have been worn by family and followers. Original found in the Netherlands. 1.6cm by 3.3cms

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.

20. Lover's Token

This sweet badge depicts what appears to be a medieval Forget-me-not, (the modern Water Forget-me-not). This plant was credited with the property that those who wore it would never be forgotten by their lovers. This badge would have been given as a symbol of true love.

Original found in Salisbury. 15th century.

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