Project aims

What did it truly mean to embark on a pilgrimage?

What were the reasons for making such an arduous journey? Who went on pilgrimages? How did pilgrims plan their route? What sort of provisions and supplies did they take with them? How did they protect the vulnerable of their party? How did they entertain themselves? How did they react when they reached their destination? Were they fundamentally changed by their experiences?


The Mediaeval Pilgrimage dissertation project aims to bring the lost experiences of mediaeval pilgrimage to life once again. A week-long walk from the famed Scottish Pilgrimage site of St Andrews to Durham Cathedral (the resting-place of the relics of St Cuthbert, 634-687) will document the physical, spiritual and logistical experiences of a group of modern-day pilgrims through the medium of radio podcast. The walk will take us via St Cuthbert’s traditional home of Melrose Abbey, as well as his bishopric on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, as well as many other locations pertinent to the saint’s life and cult.  Discussion and blogging of our mental and physical experiences will be mixed with analysis of historical examples, readings of the literature of the heyday period of Cuthbert’s saint-cult, and descriptions of the sights and sounds of our journey.