Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages

Course details

From £1135.00

Sun 09 Aug 2020 - Sat 15 Aug 2020

Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages


The Oxford Experience is a residential summer programme providing one-week courses in a variety of subjects aimed at non-specialists. It offers a choice of seminars each week over a period of six weeks.

What motivated thousands to take to the harsh road of pilgrimage every year throughout the Middle Ages?  This course will trace the history of Christian pilgrimage, from its origins in the fourth century to its virtual demise in the sixteenth.

Among topics to be examined will be the nature of relics and sanctity, the major pilgrimage centres of Jerusalem, Rome, and Santiago de Compostela, the geography, landscape, archaeology and architecture of shrines. The politics and economics of pilgrimage will also be discussed along with the reasons why pilgrimage turned into crusade, and how medieval pilgrimage came to an abrupt end, at least in Northern Europe. There will be a field trip to Winchester. 

Programme details

Seminars meet each weekday morning, 09.15-10.45 and 11.15-12.45, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study or exploring the many beautiful places in and around the city.

The origins and early development of Christian Pilgrimage

Relics and Reliquaries

Great centres of Pilgrimage, Jerusalem, Rome, and Santiago de Compostela

Local shrines, the economics and politics of Pilgrimage

Pilgrimage into Crusade

Excursion to Winchester Cathedral, Hospital of St. Cross, and Dorchester Abbey

Centres of Pilgrimage in Britain

Dissolution and Reformation, the decline of Pilgrimage in Protestant Europe


Field Trip

Destination:   Winchester Cathedral and Dorchester Abbey

Excursion Rating: Moderate
Up to two hours' walk on even ground or up to an hour's walk on rough and/or steep ground or up lots of stairs and steps.


Description Costs
Programme fee (no accom–incl. field trip, lunch and dinner) £1135.00
Programme fee (with single en-suite accom, field trip and meals) £1630.00
Programme fee (with single standard accom, field trip and meals) £1445.00


Mr Trevor Rowley


MA, MLitt, FSA,  was formerly Deputy Director in the Department for Continuing Education and before that Director of Archaeology in the department. He is now an Emeritus Fellow of Kellogg College and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He has published many books on landscape history and the Normans, most recently a biography of William the Conqueror’s half-brother, Bishop Odo of Bayeux and an examination of the landscape of the Bayeux Tapestry.    

Assessment methods

There are no assessments for this course.


Online registration closes on Friday, 1 May 2020 but please note that this course may be fully booked very quickly so early registration is recommended.


During your course, you will stay in typical Oxford student accommodation at Christ Church in buildings which range from the 18th to the 20th century. Bedrooms are modestly-furnished, do not have air-conditioning and are arranged on a staircase of four or five floors.

The fee £1620 includes a bedroom with private bathroom facilities (shower, washbasin and toilet). Most are single but a few twins are available for couples or those who wish to share with a friend. Those couples wishing to book a twin room should contact us direct ipoxex@conted.ox.ac.uk, as these rooms cannot be booked online.

There are also a few standard rooms available which all have their own washbasin and shaver point but the bath and toilet facilities on each staircase are shared. To apply for one of these rooms please select the ‘Programme Fee (with single standard accommodation and meals)’ option on the application form.  Early application for these rooms is essential.

Most standard rooms are single but there are a few ‘twin sets’ (two single rooms opening off a sitting room). If you wish to book a twin set, please contact us direct ipoxex@conted.ox.ac.uk, as these rooms cannot be booked online.

Please indicate your accommodation preferences (either online or on your application form) together with a note of any mobility problems.

We regret that we are unable to offer you accommodation at Christ Church prior to or following your course. Additionally, family or friends who are not enrolled in the programme cannot be accommodated in college.