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The Cathedral of Chartres was the object of a pilgrimage from at least the ninth century, and,
among the tens of thousands of Pilgrims' souvenirs from sites all over Europe which have survived,
there are several examples of Pilgrims' Badges which appear to have had some sort of connection to the
Cult of the Virgin of Chartres have survived. These artifacts are not only witness to the social history
of the place, but also may be precious and unique evidence of various iconographic details surrounding the cult of
Our Lady of Chartres.
This page is an attempt to present all of the known pilgrims' badges
which can be confidently said to be of Chartrain origin or to have some sort of Chartrain connection.
The titles (nomenclature) given to these Exemplars are provisional and are based,
primarilary, on the first publication of them, and, if possible, each face of each badge should be treated
as a seperate image, with its own name. Alternative ideas for the naming these artifacts are hereby invited.
During the course of extensive dredging operations in the river Seine in central Paris in 1860-63 literally thousands of artifacts of all sorts were recoverered from the river's silt. A local merchant, Arthur Forgeais,
who had a storefront near the Pont Neuf, was instrumental in the recognition of the importance of these curious artifacts and saw to their publication in a series of volumes which he had printed at his own expense in 1862-5. A total of four
badges with an apparent Chartres connection were recovered
in 1862 and 1863 and published by Forgeais in the following years.
We have styled the first of these Forgeais 2-28 :

(click on the image for a larger version;
Forgeais' accompanying text is here.)

Although it is fitted with four sewing rings at the corners, there is also an image on the
Reverse of this badge, which we suggest be named Forgeais 2-29 :

(Forgeais' illustrations appear to be woodcuts, presumably accurate representations
of the aritifacts found, but the reiliability of his reproductions must be subject
to individual acessment. Apparently at least two of his Chatres badges were lost
in the fire
which destroyed the Hôtel de Ville in Paris during the Commune of 1870.)

A very similar badge, found in the river Thames was published over
a hundred years later by Brian Spencer.

Spencer239b (obverse) :

This very interesting badge is discussed further here.

Also presumed to be from the 13th century, the badge we have styled Forgeais 4-118:

was also published by Ad. Lococq in 1876.

Arthur Forgeais, Collection de Plombs
Historiés trouvés dans la Seine,
Quatrième série: Imagerie Religieuse
(Paris: Chez l'Auteur, 1865), p. 118.

Forgeais 4-115:

Arthur Forgeais, Collection de Plombs
Historiés trouvés dans la Seine,
Quatrième série: Imagerie Religieuse

(Paris: Chez l'Auteur, 1865), p. 115.
The text of Forgeais 4-115 may be read here.

Forgeais 4-120:

Arthur Forgeais, Collection de Plombs Historiés trouvés
dans la Seine, Quatrième série: Imagerie Religieuse

(Paris: Chez l'Auteur, 1865), p. 120.





  Arthur Forgeais, a nineteenth century Parisian merchant, was the Godfather of Pilgrims' souviner collection in France, if not in all of Europe.
During the course of dredging operations in the Seine near his shop in the 1860s he monitored the work as it progressed and paid the workers engaged in it to extract from the detritus of their excavations any signifant artifacts they found. The result was a massive collection of thousands of "souvenirs," coins, and manys sorts of items. Many (though not all) of these were subsequently privately published by him in several volumes entitled Collection de Plombs Historiés trouvés dans la Seine, in at least four "série". The Chartres-related souvenirs were published here:

Arthur Forgeais, Collection de Plombs Historiés trouvés dans la Seine, Quatrième série: Imagerie Religieuse (Paris: Chez l'Auteur, 1865), pp. .

  In a general discussion of the question of pilgrimage at Chartres in an article published in the journal of the local archeological society, the Chartain historian Adolphe Lecocq discussed the artifacts found by Forgeis, and added others :

Ad[dophe]. Lecocq. "Recherches sur les Ensignes de Pélerinages et les Chemisettes de Notre-Dame de Chartres," Mémoires de la Socièté archeologique d'Eure-et-Loir, VI, 1876, pp. 194-242. [van der Meulen *779]

  Finally, the erudite Anglo-American independent scholar Pippin Michelli has provided us with a brief but brilliant summary of the history and historiography of the several pilgrims' badges from Chartres, in both an article published in a young but promising periodical devoted to "Pilgrimage Arts" (now available on-line) and in a fine paper read at the International Medieval Conference in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 2001 :

Pippin Michelli, "A Gordian Knot: Notes on Chartres Pilgrim Badges", in Perigrinations. Publication of the International Society for the Study of Pilgrimage Arts, I, ii, July 2002, pp. 2-4. (

Note that all of the images of these badges which we reproduce here are .jpgs scanned from photocopies of printed sources of woodcuts made from drawings of the originals.

In other words, we have this stemma of our images :
  original badge >
  19th c. drawing >
  19th c. woodcut >
  19th c. publication >
  20th c. photocopy >  
  21st c. scan >
  21st c. web page

Special thanks for indispensible help with this page go to
Professor Sarah Blick of Kenyon College, Pippin Michelli, Ph.D.,
and Madame Claire Lebrecque, Conservatrice of Manitoba's
fine new
Centre du Patrimoine of the Société historique
de Saint-Boniface
Please note that none of these accomplished
scholars is responsible for any of the errors which
might be found herein.

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