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The Medieval Period (1100AD - 1499AD)

The Medieval Church

St Ninian, Whithorn


Lead pilgrim's token, broken at the top. It shows a bishop in full dress, with a Lombardic inscription around the edges.


The bishop is shown wearing a full long chasuble of 13th - 15th century form, with a superhumerale. He holds a crozier with a foliate crook in his left hand, and his right hand is raised in blessing. At is right foot is a Pascla Lamb in front of a foliate motif which probably represents the Tree of Life. A air of possible shackles in the lower left has been taken to associate the figure with St. Ninian, though they are also the symbol of St Leonard.


Tokens were bought by pilgrims to show that they had been to a holy site. Ones with holes in the corners such as this example were stitched onto clothing or hats, to show the piety of the wearer. The stitching of tokens is a continental tradition, English ones tend to be pinned. This indicates that, despite being found at Whithorn, the token may not be that of St Ninian, but one of a continental saint, lost by a pilgrim who had come to Ninian's tomb.

The Whithorn Trust

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