Event report

Pilgrimage and Protection

Tutor: Tom Hughes

Examining apotropaic objects

Examining apotropaic objects

 

 

The day started with an introduction to the spiritual reasons for going on a pilgrimage during the medieval period and the harsh conditions that pilgrims had to endure; the physical dangers, the exploitation by hawkers, and the songs and stories they told to ease the monotony of the journey. It was fascinating to see that human behaviour does not change, despite the difference in the perception of the world that we now have and that held by the medieval mind. Tom showed us replicas of ampullae and badges from several shrines and explained how these were thought to protect the pilgrims as well as to reduce the time they would have to spend in purgatory.

In the afternoon, we considered the various ways this site and the houses built on it were protected. We examined apotropaic objects from Blackden including hidden shoes, a dried cat and foundation burials and we looked at markings carved in the beams of the Old Medicine House.

These, in particular were an example of how traditions of protection continued in parallel to worship in the Christian Church.

Our visitors said, Blackden 'is such a special and unique place.  The course was fascinating.  It sparked lots of ideas!'  'It was so interesting to be surrounded by so much enthusiasm and knowledge.'  'A fantastic day! Very interesting house.'  'A great day.  Fascinating history.  Lecture very informative.  Building beautiful.  Interesting conversation.'  'Inspiring.  Thank you!'

Cat buried under a hearth at Blackden

Cat buried under a hearth at Blackden
 

Apotropiac marks in timber of the Old Medicine 
		House

Apotropiac marks in timber
of the Old Medicine House


Shoes hidden in a roof space at Blackden

Shoes hidden in a roof space
at Blackden

Lower jaw of horse buried under threshold at 
	Blackden

Lower jaw of horse buried under
threshold at Blackden

 

Printed on: 16 Oct 2019

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