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Pilgrim's Badge with Saint Leonard

Badges and souvenirs of this kind were sold throughout Europe during the Middle Ages in places where saints were martyred, their relics were kept and miracles occurred. Outside Rome, Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain, where the relics of St. James the Great were kept, was a major pilgrimage site in Europe. Canterbury Cathedral, where Thomas Becket was martyred, was England's premier. The badges associated with each holy place served as proof that the wearer had made the pilgrimage. Souvenir sales were a major source of income for religious foundations. Lead alloy was also used to make secular items, including buttons, badges, rings, and toys.