Encyclopedia of Medieval Pilgrimage

Get access Subject: History
Edited by: Larissa J. Taylor et al.

The Encyclopedia of Medieval Pilgrimage is an interdisciplinary reference work, giving wide coverage of the role of travel in medieval religious life. Dealing with the period 300-1500 A.D., it offers both basic data on as broad a range of European pilgrimage as possible and clearly written, self-contained introductions to the general questions of pilgrimage research.

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Urban Tourism

(2,220 words)

Author(s): Kate McGrath
The conflation of pilgrimage with tourism is a complex issue. Pilgrimage provided individuals, especially those lacking aristocratic status, with opportunities for mobility that were generally restricted by various laws and customs. It is unsurprising, therefore, to find in many medieval accounts descriptions of pilgrims taking time "to see the sights" in addition to visiting the saint's relics or tomb, as in the infamous Wife of Bath from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. After traveling long distances to visit a shrine, most pilgrims probably spent some time seeing o…