How should I your true love know From another one? By his cockle hat and staff, And by his sandal shoon. SHAKESPEARE: Hamlet, IV,v.
An important part of my pilgrimage is the intended interaction with passers by on the route that I will walk. I will ask strangers to contribute objects, (anything that will fit into my shopping trolley) to form part of a still life that I will assemble on my return to Borough Market. I had a vague idea that particular badges or tokens were worn by pilgrims from Chaucer's time onwards and specifically that the scallop or cockle shell (the symbol of St James of Compostela) were used as symbols of pilgrimage. I wanted to encorporate the shell symbol into a token that I would give to the participants on my pilgrimage. The image that I have come up with reflects the pedestrian aspect of my pilgrimage - a trainer-clad foot on a yellow road marking. I also felt that it had an ordinary everyday feel that was appropriate for a journey through the familiar streets of South East London. The shell emblem is present in the form of the scalloped toe cap of the adidas trainer.
Dear Phillippa Venn-Brown,
I wondered what you knew about the scallop shell as the badge of the pilgrim. I understood that it related to St. James of Compostela, and that from this connection (and presumably as Compostela was a major pilgrimage route) the symbol was then taken on by all pilgrims generally. I remembered this snippet of information from school whilst doing a Chaucer project aged 12 but since that was rather a long time ago I have since looked in 'Brewer's' for the reference. It seems there are references to cockle hats in Shakespeare ( Hamlet) and also in a poem by Sir Walter Ralegh called 'the pilgrimage'.
Can you throw any light on this? Please do let me know.
Gwen the shopper.
were usually made from pressed lead and could be hung about the hat or clothes to show where a pilgrim had been . The idea of different badges for different shrines meant that they were easily recognisable to other people. Some pilgrims had special clothes which they always wore on pilgrimage and attached their badges to these. The Wife of Bath certainly had a large collection. You could always hand out shopping dockets or similar. Is there anything special about your destination which could be made into a 'badge' for you to give out? Some of the shrines that are still active centres for pilgimage, Lourdes, Compostella, Rome for example, get a bit anty if you use their symbols.
Hope that is helpful.