Palmer (pilgrim)

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In the Middle Ages, a palmer (Latin: palmarius or palmerius) was a Christian pilgrim, normally from Western Europe, who had visited the holy places in Palestine and who, as a token of his visits to the Holy Land, brought back a palm leaf or a palm leaf folded into a cross. Palmers were often highly regarded as well-natured holy men because of their devotion to Christ along the pilgrimage. The word is frequently used as synonymous with "pilgrim".[1]

"Study of a Pilgrim"; Samuel Palmer

One of the most prominent literary characters to have been a palmer was Wilfred of Ivanhoe, the title character of the book by Sir Walter Scott.[2] A palmer also plays a significant role representing Reason in Book II of Edmund Spenser's epic poem The Faerie Queene.[3]



  • Cummings, Michael J. (2010) [2004], Ivanhoe, Cummings Study Guide
  • Woodhouse, A. S. P. (1949), "Nature and Grace in the Faerie Queene", ELH, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 16 (3): 194–228, doi:10.2307/2871731, JSTOR 2871731