This pilgrim badge portrays Our Lady of Tombelaine: Tombelaine is a tiny island close to Mont St Michel off the coast of France. This object was probably brought back to Salisbury as a souvenir of a pilgrimage.
During the medieval period souvenirs, in the form of badges and ampullae (miniature holy water flasks), were usually made and sold at religious shrines to visitors who wanted to take home visible proof of their pilgrimage. The badges were usually cast in moulds and made in a tin-lead alloy or, more rarely, precious metals. The badges were usually worn in the hat and identified the pilgrim as someone who needed support and hospitality on the journey. They also served as an aid to devotion because of their supposed contact with a particular shrine.
Most of the pilgrim souvenirs from Salisbury were found in medieval watercourses, suggesting that they may have been thrown into rivers deliberately as offerings by returning pilgrims.
Other items in the History of Salisbury Gallery collection