This design features a St. George and the dragon pilgrim badge from the British Museumís world famous medieval collections, and is one of several to also feature in the Treasures of Heaven exhibition. The design also features prominent medieval motifs from Sainte Chapelle, France.
Thousands of pilgrim badges, such as these, have been found in Britain. These personal objects vividly bring to life the faith of medieval Christians. Going on pilgrimage was an important part of Christian belief in medieval Europe. Pilgrims often travelled hundreds, even thousands, of miles to visit a saint's shrine. Some pilgrims just wished to be close to the remains of their favourite saint. Others hoped to find miraculous cures or were seeking forgiveness for sins. But pilgrimages for the very wealthy could also be a form of holiday.
Pilgrim badges were mass-produced cheaply in moulds and typically made of a lead- tin alloy so everyone could afford them. People wore them attached to clothes and hats or around the neck to show where they had been on pilgrimage. The most popular shrines probably sold over 100,000 badges a year, making pilgrim badges the first mass produced tourist souvenir.
Most pilgrimage souvenirs are found in or near rivers, because people thought it brought good luck if they threw them into water. The souvenirs usually show a saint, their symbol, or a scene from their life. This helps us to identify the shrine from which a badge came.