The pilgrim's staff is a walking stick used by pilgrims on the Way of St. James to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Generally, the stick has a hook on it so that something may be hung from it. The walking stick sometimes has a cross piece on it. The pilgrim's staff has a strong association with the veneration of Saint James the Great and the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
- Pilgrim's or Palmer's Staff, (fr. bourdon): this was used as a device in a coat of arms as early at least as Edward II.'s reign, as will be seen. The Staff and the Escallop shell(q.v.) were the badge of the pilgrim, and hence it is but natural it should find its way into the shields of those who had visited the Holy Land. The usual form of representation is figure 1, but is some the hook is wanting, and when this is the case it is scarcely distinguishable from a pastoral staff as borne by some of the monasteries: it is shown in figure 2. While, too, it is represented under different forms, it is blazoned as will be seen also, under different names, e.g. a pilgrim's crutch, a crutch-staff, &c., but there is no reason to suppose that the different names can be correlated with different figures. The crutch, perhaps, should be represented with the transverse piece on the top of the staff (like the letter T) instead of across it. heraldsnet.org
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