Medieval Pewter Pilgrim Signs and Religious Goods from Billy and Charlie
Important English Saints

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Belt Fittings
 
Pilgrim Signs & Religious Goods
•   Pilgrim Signs
•  
More Pilgrim Signs
•   Ampullae
•   Devotional Items
 
Brooches & Pendants
 
Household Goods, Toys, etc.
 
Billy and Charlie
 
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Belt Fittings
 
Pilgrim Signs & Religious Goods
•   Pilgrim Signs
•  
More Pilgrim Signs
•   Ampullae
•   Devotional Items
 
Brooches & Pendants
 
Household Goods, Toys, etc.
 
Billy and Charlie
 
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  Head of Thomas Becket. This spectacular pilgrim sign, with its extremely deep relief in the face, is a copy of a common type of badge from the shrine of England's favorite saint, martyred in 1170. His shrine was the greatest of England's pilgrimage sites until the end of the 15th century. The similarities among the large number of these signs, dating from the late 13th century well into the 15th probably reflects not so much what Thomas himself looked like as the appearance of an important statue or reliquary within the shrine.

P-20 Head of Thomas Becket $10.00
3 x 1-5/8" or 75 x 43mm
* Salisbury, no. 21
# Salisbury, no.20-27; Pilgrim Signs, no. 112-118; Mitchiner, No. 139-143, 436-455, etc.

The Sword that Killed Becket had (and has) its own altar in Canterbury. Our sign is copied from numerous examples. Although the murder took place in 1170, the sword is a 14th or early 15th century one, with a ring-shaped pommel characteristic of the Irish medieval sword. Together with the beast-heads on the cross (if they are taken to be bear heads), this may point to the popular belief that it was the Irishman Reginald Fitz Urse who struck the fatal blow.

P-11 Sword that Killed Becket $15.00
5-1/4 x 1-3/8" or 135 x 35mm
# Pilgrim Souvenirs, no. 55-70; Mitchiner, no. 124-5;
Spencer, LMAS

 

  The St. Thomas Quatrefoil is copied from a 14th or 15th century example now in Salisbury.

P-4 St. Thomas Quatrefoil $5.00
1-1/4 x 1-1/8" or 33 x 28mm
* Salisbury, no. 35-36

St. Alban, the first British martyr, was killed near the city which now bears his name. His Roman executioner suffered a terrible penalty, which is shown in this pilgrim sign; as the sword fell, decapitating St. Alban, his attacker's eyes sprang from his head, blinding him so that he could not see the miracles which would arise from the saint's sacrifice. This sign is backed with a thin piece of brass; original pieces often had metal or paper backings to show off the openwork more clearly.

P-1 St. Alban $15.00
2-1/4 x 1-3/4" or 58 x 43 mm
* Pilgrim Souvenirs, no. 196b; Mitchiner, no. 2119

 

  The Blessed John Schorn is a copy of a late 15th century sign now in Salisbury. John Schorn, vicar of North Marston, Bucks, from 1290-1314 was famous as an exorcist. This pilgrim sign commemorates his most spectacular act, when he forced the Devil into a boot. He was venerated at North Marston and, from 1478, at St. George's Chapel at Windsor, where his relics were translated. He was the patron of those ill with fever or toothache, of the blind, and of depressed youths.

P-2 Blessed John Schorn $5.00
1-5/8 x 1-1/4" or 42 x 30mm
* Salisbury, no. 165

 
The Walsingham Fleur-de-Lis is patterned on several extant example. The knobbed decoration is characteristic of pilgrim signs from Walsingham, where England's foremost shrine to the Virgin stood. It imitates in pewter the pearl "halos" which adorn many precious metal brooches from the second quarter of the 15th century.

P-9 Walsingham Fleur-de-Lis $5.00
1-1/8" or 29mm
* Salisbury, no. 75

 

  St. Catherine's Wheel is the instrument upon which this 3rd century saint was almost martyred. When the Roman emperor's diabolical engine was put into motion to destroy the saint, it burst into shrapnel and killed many of the bloodthirsty onlookers. This piece is a copy of a British brooch, one of many similar extant badges, although a specifc shrine cannot be identified as the source. We also offer a large sign that shows the saint herself.

P-13 St. Catherine's Wheel $5.00
1-1/4" or 31mm
# Mitchiner, no. 616-623; Pilgrim Souvenirs, no. 198i


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