No class of medieval society was entirely excluded from the practice of pilgrimage. Although it is obvious that wealth and high status facilitated the making of long journeys, it is also possible to glimpse people who spent much of their lives in what was effectively a condition of vagrancy lightly coloured as pilgrimage, but who were of such lowly standing that their existence attracted little attention from the authorities. Some scraped a living going on pilgrimages on behalf of others both alive and dead; humble people sought refuge from their troubles in real or alleged pilgrimage. Even the unfree were not totally debarred from access to pilgrimage, and they were not alone in having to seek permission from higher authority to go; almost all pilgrims, of whatever social rank, lay or clerical, were theoretically supposed to do that.
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