These pilgrimage centres were a central element in medieval life. England could not emulate Jerusalem, the ultimate place of pilgrimage, Rome with its multitude of relics, or Compostela. Nevertheless, like other countries, England had shrines of great popularity, journeys to which were less arduous and expensive. Before 1066 the most popular included Durham (St Cuthbert), St Albans, and Bury (St Edmund), which all faded in the late 12th cent. before the brighter light of Westminster (St Edward), Worcester (St Wulfstan), and—by far the most popular—Canterbury (St Thomas Becket). In late medieval England as elsewhere, as devotion to the Virgin Mary intensified, her shrines at Westminster, Doncaster, Ipswich, and above all at Walsingham grew in importance.
Subjects: Regional and National History.