Pilgrim badge of Mary

Photo: The Portable Antiquities Scheme CC By 2.0
Object type: Pilgrim Badge
Period: Medieval
Primary material: Lead alloy
Date found: 16/11/2021
Location: Southwark, London


A Medieval lead alloy pilgrim badge dating from AD 1400-1550. The badge has a crown with a heart pierced by an arrow below and possibly flames above. Two sleeved arms from the ends of a crown gives the badge the form of the letter “M”. This imagery is associated with the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It is suggested that Flames crown Mary’s heart because her heart was and is on fire with love. The pierced heart is from the Gospel of Luke “And your heart a sword shall pierce.”

Devotion to the Heart of Mary began in the Middle Ages with Anselm of Canterbury and became increasingly important in the Catholic church from the early 15th Century.