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17.08.2021

Pilgrim badge of lead or tin

Middle Ages, late 14th or 15th century

Found in the 1970s during excavations of the archaeological section of the Winchester Museum on Victoria Road, Winchester, Hampshire.

This token is in the form of an ampoule, or small flask, in which holy water was supposed to be stored. Decorated on one side with a floral ornament, it has two loops so that the wearer could hang it around his neck, clothing, or hat to show where he had been on his pilgrimage. Since the other side has a "W" and a crown, we can assume that it was not purchased from Hyde Abbey, but was brought from the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk.

Pilgrim's badge/ampule made of lead or pewter/lead with angled loops for hanging. On the front is an engraved compass drawn six-petal flower in a circle, with a zigzag line around the body, and on the reverse is a crowned W. Around the neck is a collar, framed by oblique lines. This is a late form, dating to the late 14th or 15th century, and the W crown suggests that this ampulla belongs to the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, but the attribution is not entirely accurate. From VR72-80, Victoria Road, Winchester, Hampshire. Excavations were conducted by the archaeology department of Winchester Museums from 1972-1980.

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