framed pilgrims2

6.  Lion Passant


Popular as a royal livery badge throughout the 14th and 15th centuries.

The crowned lion passant showed ones allegiance to the king in times of unrest.

Original only complete example retrieved from the Thames foreshore in Dowgate London

1. Becket's Exile.

Depicts Becket returning to England in 1170, a month before his murder. Exiled in France for six years to avoid conflict with Henry II. He is shown here on board a square-rigged cog, standing in the centre, his hand raised in blessing. 14th Century. Museum of London

5.  Lancastrian Livery Badge

The ostrich feather and crown badge was a generic Lancastrian badge during the ‘Wars of the Roses.' It was the courage of one of his adversaries, the blind King John of Bohemia which made Edward, Prince of Wales adopt the ostrich feather as a royal badge after the battle of Crecy in 1346.

Original found in London

10. Saint James

(scallop shell)

This was the symbol of Saint James  His shrine at Santiago de Compostella was the most important destination for pilgrims along with Rome and Jerusalem, one of the three great pilgrimages. It was later 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

9. St Etheldreda ( Audrey)

Ely Cathedral was built on the site where Ethelreda founded a convent in the 7th century. She holds a book and a crosier from which hang shackles, these relate to the miracle of a man she saved from jail. Fairs were held on her feast days, cheap trinkets ‘tawdry (St. Audrey) wares' were sold  Pilgrimages to her shrine were popular. Original found in London.


8. Saint Christopher

Known as the patron saint of travellers and many others including archers. This badge depicts the story of carrying a child across a river, the child was Christ. The badge worn by travellers, to show devotion and as a request for his blessing.

14th Century.

3. Hart and Tree

This badge is linked as a symbol to Richard II and his followers. In 1989 in the City of London a small hart and tree badge was found  during excavations and recorded as such. Late 14th, early 15th century.

2. Lover's Token

"Herte be trewe" is the inscription on a crowned heart with a diagonal band. It is surrounded by pearls representing purity. A married lady would give a token to a knight of her choice to be worn during a Medieval tournament. Around 50 heart badges have been found in London.

15th Century

4. King Henry VI

An incompetent Lancastrian king, but he had true holiness. After the defeat at Tewkesbury in 1471, he was put to death in the Tower of London, but soon achieved popular sanctity after his body was removed to Windsor. His cult was recognized by Richard III and rose to prominence as an important pilgrimage site. Original found in London.

15th Century

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7. St Cecilia

The patron saint of musicians, who according to legend as she lay dying a martyr's death praised God by singing to him, other stories say she was singing at her wedding. The original of this badge was found in London and shows a figure playing an organ. Said to be one of the most famous of Roman martyrs even though there is no authentic evidence. Cecilia died three days after being struck on the neck by a sword. Her feast day is 22nd November. 15th century. Museum of London Height 4cm by 4.5 cms.

11.  Griffin Badge

The heraldic Griffin has the forequarters of an eagle and the hindquarters of a lion.The Griffin was favoured by  Edward III and also used by the Montague Earls of Salisbury. They were worn  as symbols of allegiance by followers of the Montagues. There are variants of this badge.

Original found in London.

15th century.

13.Earl of Warwick Bear & Ragged Staff

One of the most famous and recognisable medieval and household badges. Throughout the 14th & 15th centuries it was used by the Earls of Warwick and most famously by Richard Neville ('the Kingmaker') 1428-71.

Livery badges were given out as a means to ensure support and loyalty.

Original found in the Thames.

12. Badge of the Order of the Dragon

In the late 14th century, King Sigismund of Hungary found the order of the Dragon.  Members were bound to fight the infidel. Once admitted to the order, members could present badges to anyone they thought worthy. Men and women could join the membership.

Taken from a 15th Century embroidered badge.