Pilgrim Badge: Thomas Becket Ampulla

Material: Pewter
Dimensions: Height: 7cm / 2 ¾in, Width: 6cm / 2 ⅜in
Place of Origin: Canterbury, England
Date: 12th or 13th century
Maker or Retailer: Unknown
Present Location: Private collection


This circular cast pewter pilgrim badge, called an ampulla because its shape resembles that of a Roman flask, was found in the bed of the River Avon in Salisbury, during works. It has the image of St Thomas à Becket lying in state and holding a cross.


The reverse shows the assassination of Becket by Richard Le Bret. The circular framework is cast with the letters OPTIMUS EGRORUM MEDICUS FIT TOMA BONORUM : ‘Thomas is the best doctor for our worthy sick’.


  • Mitchener, M., 1986, Medieval and Secular Pilgrim Badges’ Hawkins Publications, ISBN 13: 9780904173192

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