In the Middle ages the Church encouraged world to make pilgrimages come special holy places dubbed shrines. The was believed that if friend prayed in ~ these shrines you might be forgiven for your sins and also have much more chance that going to heaven. Rather went to temples hoping to be cured from condition they were experiencing from.

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The most well-known shrine in England to be the dig of thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. Once Becket was murdered local human being managed to achieve pieces of fabric soaked in his blood. Rumours quickly spread that, when touched by this cloth, world were cured of blindness/ epilepsy and leprosy. It was no long before the monks at Canterbury Cathedral to be selling little glass party of Becket"s blood come visiting pilgrims.

Another necessary shrine to be at Walsingham in Norfolk whereby there was a sealed glass jar that was claimed to save on computer the milk the the Virgin Mary. Erasmus checked out Walsingham and also described the shrine as being surrounding "on every sides through gems, gold and also silver." he also added that the water indigenous the Walsingham spring was "efficacious in curing pains of the head and stomach."

At various other shrines civilization went to check out the teeth, bones, shoes, combs etc. The were said to have actually once belonged to important Christian saints. The most typical relics at these temples were nails and also pieces of lumber that the keepers of the shrine declared came indigenous the cross supplied to crucify Jesus.

Important shrines in the center Ages contained those in ~ St. Winifred"s Well, Lindisfarne, Glastonbury, Bromholm and St. Albans. When human being arrived in ~ the shrine they would certainly pay money come be enabled to look in ~ these holy relics. In some instances pilgrims were even allowed to touch and kiss them. The keeper of the shrine would likewise give the pilgrim a metal badge that had been stamped through the symbol of the shrine. These badges to be then resolved to the pilgrim"s cap so that people would know they had actually visited the shrine.

Some people went on pilgrimages abroad. In Palestine, for example, that was feasible to visit a cave that was supposed to save on computer the bed of Adam and also Eve and a obelisk of salt that had once to be Lots wife.

Travelling on lengthy journeys in the Middle ages was a danger activity. Pilgrims frequently went in teams to protect themselves against outlaws.

Wealthy people sometimes preferred to pay rather to go on a trip for them. Because that instance, in 1352 a London seller paid a man £20 to go on a trip to mountain Sinai.

Woodcut the a expedition (c.1490)

In respectable 1535, Henry VIII sent out a team of public official to uncover out what was going ~ above in the monasteries. After analysis their reports Henry decided to close under 376 monasteries. Monastery land was seized and also sold turn off cheaply come nobles and also merchants. They consequently sold several of the soil to smaller sized farmers. This process meant that a big number of civilization had an excellent reason to assistance the monasteries being closed.

In 1538 Henry turned his fist to spiritual shrines in England. For hundreds of years pilgrims had actually visited shrines that had important religious relics. Wealthy pilgrims regularly gave expensive jewels and also ornaments to the monks that looked after these shrines. Henry determined that the shrines must be closed down and the wide range that they had developed given to the crown.

The Pope and also the Catholic church in Rome to be horrified once they heard the news the Henry had ruined St. Cutting board Becket"s Shrine. On 17 December 1538, the Pope announced come the Christian human being that Henry VIII had been excommunicated from the Catholic church.

Woodcut that a expedition (c.1490)


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Primary Sources

(1) list of few of the relics held at St. Omer"s Church in 1346.

A piece of our Lord"s Cross... Piece of the Lord"s tomb... A item of the Lord"s cradle... Several of the hairs of St. Mary. A item of her robe... Component of St thomas of Canterbury"s tunic. Component of his chair. Shavings from the peak of his head. Part of the ceiling that covered him, and component of his woollen shirt... Part of his hair shirt. Few of his blood.

(2) Benedict the Peterborough explained what occurred after the fatality of thomas Becket. (c. 1175)

Some the the blood was carefully and also cleanly built up and poured right into a dean vessel and kept in the church.

(3) one of the worst conditions in the Middle ages was "sacred fire". The was thought that a relic kept at a church in France can cure the disease. Hugh the Avallon, bishop that Lincoln, checked out the church in about 1190.

We saw youths and also maidens, old and also young, cured the the "sacred fire", some v their flesh eaten away, others with their bones completely destroyed, rather still, having lost one or other of their limbs, living a common life... You have the right to see human being of all periods of both sexes through their arms consumed away indigenous wrist to elbow, or from elbow to shoulder, or through legs rotted indigenous ankle come knees.

(4) Gervase of Canterbury, The Deeds of queens (c.1210)

(Henry II) went back to England (1174)... He collection out through a sad heart to the tomb of St. Cutting board at Canterbury... That walked barefoot and also clad in a woollen smock every the method to the martyr"s tomb. Over there he lay and of his totally free will to be whipped by all the bishops and abbots there present and also each individual monk that the church the Canterbury.

(5) Matthew Paris, higher Chronicle (c.1260)

A man concerned St. Albans... He had actually a overcome of timber that he said was made from the same cross on which Christ to be crucified. However no one believed him. At last he concerned a monastery referred to as Brabham, in Norfolk. It was miserably poor... The monks to be overjoyed to have such a treasure... Miracles started in the monastery. The dead are raised to life, the blind have their sight, the lame walk, and those own of devils are freed.

(6) component of a letter written by Margaret Paston to her husband in 1484.

When i heard you were ill I chose to go on pilgrimage to Walsingham... For you.

(7) among the many unusual illness in the Middle periods was St Vitus dance. Human being who endured from the condition found it daunting to save their limbs still and so the looked choose they to be dancing. It was thought that if friend attended St AImedha"s church in Wales, you would certainly be cured of the disease. In his book. Summary of Wales, Gerald of Wales explained a group of pilgrims visiting this church, (c. 1195)

The day was August 1st. Many people came here from far-off parts... Hoping to be healed... Men and women might be checked out in the church and also churchyard, singing and also dancing. Unexpectedly they would loss down fairly motionless, together if in a trance, and then as suddenly leap up again favor lunatics... They accompanied these jobs with songs, but the notes to be all out of tune... Later you might see the same world offering gifts at the altar, after i beg your pardon they showed up to rouse us from your trance and also recover.

(8) Matthew Paris wrote about Bromholm Monastery in roughly 1250.

There he sent out for the Prior and some that his brethren, and also showed them the above-mentioned Cross, i m sorry was constructed of two pieces of wood, put one across the other, and nearly as wide as the hand that a man; he climate humbly implored lock to get him right into their order with the cross and the various other relics i m sorry he had actually with him, as well as his two children.

(9) Erasmus saw the Shrine of our Lady that Walsingham in 1513.

When girlfriend look in you would say the is the abode of saints, for this reason brilliantly does it shine on every sides through gems, gold and silver… our Lady stands in the dark at the ideal side that the altar… a small image, remarkable neither for its size, product or workmanship.

(10) D. J. Hall, English medieval Pilgrimage (1965)

For centuries men lived v "the firm id that the finish of the people was near and they likewise believed without concern in the fact of Hell: native the photos they saw and the descriptions offered by the Church they were fine acquainted with its inhabitants and also the torments lock practised. Their minds were thus continually referred to as upon to deal with with situations in which their herbal desires caused these ideas to conflict. The span of life gift short, they were impelled come indulge their passions come the full; awareness the the terrible fate which was the price of sin drove lock to nearly any spiritual extravagance that might possibly bring redemption.

Violent antithesis is the essence of the middle ages. The contrast between rich and poor to be vast, regularly as great as in between men and beasts even though the conduct of both might be similar. For everyone life was precarious; hygiene was non-existent and also horrible illness were widespread; murder and also robbery were daily risks, the negative struggled no hope to survive and the wealthy were constantly on guard to safeguard their place or trying come destroy prior to being destroyed.

To the existing century the center ages show up romantic or horrifying or both, yet it is difficult to gauge the pleasure of people living at a time so entirely different from the present. There are aspects of this day which would certainly numb a 12th-century guy with horror and nausea, and our bigoted nationalism would seem to him as much out that order as his individual selfishness seems to us. The accept of signs and also wonders, relics and also miracles, through the most highly emerged men the their age may seem to united state incredible; yet they could think it no much less strange that the greater part of mankind now accepts, just as ignorantly, the manifestations the science.

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(11) H. Amold-Forster, A history of England (1898)

Some that the monks lived great lives and did great work in teaching and also helping the poor... There to be others that lived negative lives, and spent your money ~ above themselves... Once Henry consisted of his mind to destroy the monasteries and also nunneries, it was not tough for the to discover out many negative things which could truly be stated of the monks and also nuns, and also which he could use as an pardon for acquisition away their property.