Pilgrim badge: Boxley Abbey, Cruciform
Time period: 15th Century
Origin: London, England
Product Dimensions: 71 x 88mm;
The Rood of Grace, Boxely Abbey. The Rood of Grace at Boxley Abbey, near Maidstone in Kent, was one of the most remarkable, and ultimately infamous, of medieval pilgrimages. On the rood was a life size figure of Christ, and it was from this figure’s remarkable ability to change facial expressions from frowning displeasure to ‘most mylde amiable, and smyling cheare, when it woulde seeme to be well pleased’ that the fame of Boxley Abbey sprang. The figure even had the ability to shed tears!
In 1538 when the Rood was taken down by the Commissioners for the dissolution of the monasteries it was found to be nothing more than a mechanical contraption worked by hidden wires. It was then taken to London where, having been denounced by the Bishop of London, was destroyed and thrown to the crowd. On the badge is depicted the keeper of the rood pointing at some of the offerings placed on the altar.