The Hazards of the Journey: Pilgrimage and Travel in the Middle Ages

What possessed people to trudge hundreds of miles, often in appalling conditions and sometimes perishing on the way? This lecture considers this question and also how there was a shift from spiritual wandering in the Anglo-Saxon period to religious tourism in the days of Chaucer’s pilgrims.  It also looks closely at travel in general and the hazards of the journey: how did people organise themselves for long journeys and how safe was it? How should they provide for themselves and where might they find help? From maps and motivation to souvenirs and shrines, this lecture discusses travel in the round as well as specifically for spiritual reasons.