Saints, Shrines and Pilgrims

Saints, Shrines and Pilgrims by Roger Rosewell is a new addition to the excellent range of Shire Publications. With so many ramblers following the old pilgrim routes, whether in the UK or further afield, this is a good introduction to the medieval folk who went on pilgrimage.

Roger Rosewell looks at the growth of pilgrimages and their decline, the saints and their shrines they sought out, the people who made the pilgrimages, and just why they did. For some it was an act of pure devotion, for others a way to find escape from the long hours of labouring – their holy days became our holidays.

The number of Britons who went on a pilgrimage are incredible. In 1534, even as the Reformation was getting under way and on the eve of the odious Henry VIII scrapping the shrines, 62,000 pilgrims visited the shrine at Walsingham.

There’s a useful list of saints and some absolutely beautiful illustrations and Mr Rosewell is a most entertaining writer.

Whether you have religious beliefs or not, this is a fascinating read. Highly recommended and a source for planning some interesting expeditions. Worth all seeking out Mr Rosewell’s other excellent book on medieval wall paintings too.

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