Pilgrim badge: Canterbury bell
Time period: 14th- 15th Century
Product Dimensions: 3.7cm width x 4.4cm height.
The bell is fully functional and gives a pleasant ring. Although a number of shrines sold bells, those from Canterbury had perhaps greater significance due to the belief that, at the moment of Thomas Becket’s murder, all the cathedral bells rang without being touched.
Reference has already been made to William Thorpe’s complaining remarks about the noise made by these items such as the pilgrims whistle, and so we can only assume that crowds of pilgrims rattling little bells like this must have been a common sight on medieval roads.
Around the base of this bell runs the inscription in Lombardic capitals, CAMPANE THOME (Thomas’s bell) Such inscriptions were far from being simply descriptive, but enforced, through the use of the wording itself the magical function of the item. Indeed it was probably believed that a little of Saint Thomas’s divine grace would fall on any within earshot of these items.