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Occupying Space in Medieval and Early Modern Britain and Ireland


Gregory Hulsman and Caoimhe Whelan

This collection offers a range of interdisciplinary viewpoints on the occupation of space and theories of place in Britain and Ireland throughout the medieval and early modern periods. It considers space in both its physical and abstract sense, exploring literature, history, art, manuscript studies, religion, geography and archaeology. The buildings and ruins still occupying our urban and rural spaces bridge the gap between the medieval and the modern; manuscripts and objects hold keys to unlocking the secrets of the past. Focusing on the varied uses of space enriches our understanding of the material culture of the medieval and early modern period. The essays collected here offer astute observations on this theme and generate new insights into areas such as social interaction, cultural memory, sacred space and ideas of time and community.
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‘He purveyyd hym bothe scryp and pyke and made hym a palmer lyke’: The Role of Pilgrim Clothing in Medieval Narratives (Edel Mulcahy)


← 22 | 23 →EDEL MULCAHY

‘He purveyyd hym bothe scryp and pyke and made hym a palmer lyke’: The Role of Pilgrim Clothing in Medieval Narratives

The religious practice of travelling on pilgrimage during the Middle Ages left an enduring mark on the medieval landscape. As in the pilgrimages of today, people took up the pilgrim’s mantle for a vast selection of reasons including petition, thanksgiving, atonement and, in some cases, as an excuse to escape their mundane domestic obligations and see the world.1 By going on pilgrimage, people were required to leave their homes, families and communities and travel to the shrines of saints and sacred sites. These destinations may have required a short pilgrimage to a smaller, local site or a longer, more arduous journey to a larger shrine such as Santiago de Compostella or sacred locations in the Holy Land. Irrespective of the length of the pilgrimage, once pilgrims began their journey they crossed the threshold of living a stable, stationary life within their home and community into a new space defined by mobility and constant change, one which was outside the boundaries of typical society. The growing popularity of pilgrimage up to and including the fourteenth century, due to the continued interest in the cult of saints, the annual confession and associated penance imposed by the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, and also increased opportunities to travel longer distances, ensured that certain social, legal and also religious expectations evolved with the practice. Pilgrims...

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