badge of Sts Andrew and Ghislain of Hainaut, from Belsele
This badge is a rare hybrid form of badge and pennon. Only a few of these rare instances of pewter pennons have been found.
Around 1550, paper pennons - little flags with a printed image - emerged as a religious souvenir. They existed alongside pewter badges for a while. The pennons with a printed image were cheaper and faster to manufacture than the metal pilgrimage souvenirs. In the end, the cheaper paper souvenirs completely supplanted metal badges.
This badge has a rare hybrid form: it is a metal badge in the shape of a pennon. Or a pennon made of pewter, if you will. Because of its hybrid form it is likely to date back to the time when pilgrim souvenirs changed from metal to paper. Therefore, it can be dated to the second half of the 16th century.
Four instances of this hybrid form are now know today. The first is a pennant with a Mary and Child on her arm, flanked on either side by angels with candles and a flower in frame. It has an inscription that reads: HEYLIGHE MARIA BIDT VOOR ONS (Holy Mary, pray for us). It was found in Flanders. Two other flags depict Job who was venerated in Weezemaal (Kunera 16449 and 20885). The first of these is intact and has the following inscription: S.IOB.GODTS VRIENT BIT VOER ONS (Saint Job, friend of God, pray for us). It was found in Middelburg. The second is only a fragment and the inscription is only partly legible: VRIENT BIT VOOR ONS (Friend, pray for us). This was found in the Hulst (NL).
The fourth example shows St Andrew with a cross. Next to him is St Ghislain of Hainaut as a bishop with a church model in his hands and a bear at his feet. This badge also has an inscription: YLICH SAN ..... TOT BELSELE (Holy Saint …. in Belsele). The village of Belsele in the province of East Flanders has a church dedicated to these two saints. On this site there was a church already in the 10th century. It has often been damaged, restored and enlarged over the centuries. Nothing however is known about pilgrimages to Belsele.
This pennon demonstrated that it must have been visited by pilgrims, although they probably did not come from far away. The distance between Belsele and Sint-Anna (where the metal pennant has been found) is only 9 km.
The badge is made of lead tin and it measures 4 by 5.7 cm. It was found in Sint-Anna (Hamme) and is in the collection of Peter d'Haese (Kunera 23003)