Worcester Pilgrim

In 1986, the late 15th Century grave of a ‘pilgrim’ was discovered inside Worcester Cathedral.

Staff before conservation

Staff before conservation

Shortly afterwards, in 1987, after excavation and analysis of the human remains and the treatment of the two main artefacts found with it, the knee-high leather boots and the wooden staff with iron spike, the pilgrim was put on display in the crypt of the Cathedral.  This display remained in place for approximately 25 years, until 2013 when a new interpretative display was planned, through a collaboration between Worcester Cathedral and York University’s Centre for Christianity and Culture.  The C.C.C. commissioned the conservation lab to undertake remedial work to the boots and staff to allow them to go on display again in the crypt.

After 25 years on display in an upright position, the leather boots which were fastened to a mount in the shape of a lower leg, and the staff which was supported by a polypropylene pipe, had suffered slightly in the form of slippage from the mounts and some cracks and breaks forming on the staff. Some spots of mould had also formed.

worcester pilgrim image 4 boot after treatment.jpg

The boots were removed from the leg mounts, consolidated, cleaned and remounted (above).  Surface dirt and accretions were removed from the staff, the fragments of which were re-assembled and given a new acrylic mount.  After treatment, the artefacts were re-displayed in a horizontal case, which also contained a new reconstruction drawing of the original grave.