• Kathryn Hurlock
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


The conclusion argues that pilgrimage in Wales, and from Wales, remained vibrant right up until the Reformation, and that it was a practice based on sound understanding of the culture of pilgrimage, from its promotion to the experience of pilgrimage itself. While it was also similar in many ways to pilgrimages practices across England and Europe as a whole, Welsh pilgrimage practices also exhibit some differences. Welsh pilgrimage in the period c.1100–1500 initially focussed on the burial sites of saints, though in contrast to English traditions this did not mean shrine reconstruction and the translation of bodies. The grave itself was a key focus of pilgrim activity even after the spread of Norman influence into Wales. So too were local sites, as most Welsh pilgrims—in common with elsewhere in Europe—went on local rather than long-distance pilgrimage. Formal promotion of pilgrimage in Wales was, for the most part, limited; instead, the merits of pilgrimage sites were promoted through poetry, much of which was commissioned by lay patrons. This poetry was also key in allowing for virtual pilgrimage and in particular communal virtual pilgrimage, something which made the Welsh pilgrimage experience unusual. Finally it concludes that the Welsh did not engage with the ‘political’ saints and politicised pilgrimage of the later middle ages, and that the political use of pilgrimage in Wales by English kings has been overstated in the existing historiography.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn Hurlock
    • 1
  1. 1.Manchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK

Personalised recommendations