BBC Radio 4: In Our Time – Medieval Pilgrimage

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the idea and experience of Christian pilgrimage in Europe from the 12th to the 15th centuries, which figured so strongly in the imagination of the age. For those able and willing to travel, there were countless destinations from Jerusalem, Rome and Santiago de Compostela to the smaller local shrines associated with miracles and relics of the saints. Meanwhile, for those unable or not allowed to travel there were journeys of the mind, inspired by guidebooks that would tell the faithful how many steps they could take around their homes to replicate the walk to the main destinations in Rome and the Holy Land, passing paintings of the places on their route.


Producer: Simon Tillotson

Reading List:

  • Robert Bartlett, Why Can the Dead Do Such Great Things?: Saints and Worshippers from the Martyrs to the Reformation (Princeton University Press, 2015)
  • Nicole Chareyron (trans. W. Donald Wilson), Pilgrimage to Jerusalem in Later Middle Ages (Columbia University Press, 2005)
  • Patrick J. Geary, Furta Sacra: Thefts of Relics in the Central Middle Ages (Princeton University Press, 1991)
  • Margery Kempe (trans. Anthony Bale), The Book of Margery Kempe (Oxford University Press, 2015)
  • Ian Reader, Pilgrimage: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2015)
  • Kathryn M. Rudy, Virtual Pilgrimages in the Convent: Imagining Jerusalem in the Late Middle Ages (Brepols Publishers, 2011)
  • Jonathan Sumption, Pilgrimage: An Image of Mediaeval Religion (Rowman & Littlefield, 1975)
  • Diana Webb, Pilgrims and Pilgrimage in the Medieval West (Tauris, 2001)
  • Brett Edward Whalen, Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages: A Reader (University of Toronto Press, 2011)

Listen to the episode here.


Published by Roisin Astell

Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: