Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What the Pilgrims Wore

The particular designations of Pilgrims were the Scrip, Staff от Bourdon, Palmer's Staff, Scarf, Bell, Sclavina, Hat, Prayer Beads (Paternoster), Scrobula(womens clothing).

The Scrip was derived from the Monks of Egypt. Charlemagne wore a golden Scrip when he went to Rome.8 It was the pouch or wallet in which Pilgrims carried their necessaries. Thus Chaucer,

" In scrippe he bare both bread and leeks." b It was made of leather. In the Life of S. Margaret is this passage : " And you shall visit me with a pilgrim's staff, the scrip hanging from your shoulder ;" and in a compotus from the year 1333 to 1336 is an entry "for a scrip of seta," which I think not leather only, but leather with the hair on.c In the Roman de la Rose MS. it is coupled with the Bourdon, as will hereafter appear. Small ones are mentioned.«1 We find a Scrip and Mantle united,« and Pilgrims were called Manticulati from Mantica, the scrip/ The Anglo-Saxons had Scrips, and they were worn at the side.g The term Scrip also applied to the whole of a pilgrim's baggage, so far as concerned packages.11 A Sack instead of a Scrip occurs, as carried by a female poor pilgrim.'

Scarf. The Abbot of Cheminon, says a Pilgrim, gave me my Scarf, and bound it on me ; and likewise put the Pilgrim's Staff in my hand. I made pilgrimages to all the holy places in the neighbourhood, on foot, without shoes, and in my shirt.k

Authors often use the word Scarf instead of Scrip, because these Scrips or wallets were commonly attached to the Scarfs with which they begirded the pilgrims.1 In general the Scarf is a mere leather thong or belt.

In the thirteenth century, the French began to wear over the Cuirass the white Scarf, which afterwards characterized their military men. It was sometimes worn as a girdle, sometimes as a belt or baudrick. With them it was sometimes white; sometimes red, The Spaniards preferred it red; the Bavarians and Catalans black ; the Palatines, Inhabitants of the Rhine, the Danes and English blue.™ Accordingly in old portraits of our military men in armour, we find it of blue silk : of that, or some similar material, as a designation of officers, so late as the middle of the last century,n and at last converted into a sash, and worn around the waist. We hear of a Scrip being supported by a girdle or belt, and both occur in plates.0 The arms borne by the name of Tasborough are, 1. Argent, a chevron, between three stirrups pendent on as many palmers' staves, Sable. 2. Argent, a chevron, between three pilgrims' staves, with pouches hanging on them, Sable, garnished Or.

Bourdon Staff. He had a long staff in his hand, with a nobbe in the middle, according to the fashion of this Pilgrim's Staff.? The fashion of all the staves, except the Palmers', is similar in the Plate, (p. 323,) and shows the error of the theatrical costume, in furnishing pilgrims with a long cross. Upon the arms of Sempringham is what is called a pilgrim's crutch.

They subsisted upon the charitable contributions of those they met with on their journey. In the Romance of the Four Sons of Aymont, which probably is about the twelfth century, one of the heroes, renouncing all secular pursuits, determines upon a pilgrimage, and requests for that purpose, a coat, or tu- nick, to be made of coarse cloth, and a large hat or hood, and [a bourdon fer- ruled a with iron] ; to which his friends, contrary to his wishes, added shoes made of cows' skin [neat leather, the thickest, best for duration and wear], but could by no means prevail upon him to accept of breeches, stockings or a shirt, or any other soft or comfortable garment.

In Pierce the Ploughman's Visions a personage is introduced apparelled as a Pilgrim, bearing a burden bound about with a broad list upon his back, and a bag and a bowlь by his side ; his cloak was marked with crosses, interspersed with the Keys of Rome (two keys crossed) and a vernicle in the front. Upon his hat were placed the signs of Sinay, and shells of Gules ; that it might be known by these tokens, for whose sake he had travelled ; therefore being asked whence he came, he replied, " Ye may see by the signes that sitteth on my cappe," and added that he had visited Sinai, the Holy Sepulchre, Bethlem, and variety of other places. "The pilgrim's habit, as it was delineated in the fourteenth century.

His hat is turned up in the front, with an escallop-shell affixed to it : he is barefooted, and holds a staff in his left hand. This figure in the original painting is intended for the portraiture of Saint James : and for that reason, by way of distinction, I presume, the border of gold is added to the sleeves, and at the bottom of the garment ; for all such ornaments were generally considered as highly indecorous to the profession of a pilgrim."

The figure just described appears with a long beard : It was dangerous at the commencement of the thirteenth century, for a stranger to appear with a beard.

" Peter Auger, valet to Edward the Second, obtained from that Monarch letters of safe conduct, he being desirous of visiting the holy places abroad, as a Pilgrim ; and having made a vow not to shave his beard, was fearful, without such documents, of being taken for a Knight Templar, and insulted. It was by no means uncommon with Lay Pilgrims to make such a vow, and to extend it still further to the hair of their head e and their finger nails : conceiving, I suppose, that the resemblance to a savage was a positive mark of piety and humbleness of mind.

British monachism; or, Manners and customs of the monks and nuns of England By Thomas Dudley Fosbroke COSTUMES OF PILGRIMS.



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