Englishwomen as Pilgrims to Jerusalem: Isolda Parewastell, 1365
Luttrell , Anthony
Equally in God’s Image: Women in the Middle Ages, Edited, Julia Bolton Holloway, Joan Bechtold, Constance S. Wright (Peter Lang, 1990)
Many English pilgrims left no record of their journey but Isolda Parewastell from Somerset, who escaped from Jerusalem in dramatic circumstances during 1365, was an exception for she gave a brief account of her tribulations in a petition to the pope which was copied into a papal register. The information her document contained was slight but Isolda’s adventure must have found some place in a continuous story of English pilgrims, some of them women, whose experiences accumulated in an expanding tradition known to many of those who stayed at home as well as those who set off on the long journey eastwards.
The urge towards pilgrimage was a powerful one and was always shared by women, even when it involved journeys from England to distant lands or took armed form in the crusade. During the fourteenth century there was a marked increase in the numbers of female pilgrims visiting Jerusalem and other shrines. Women seldom left written accounts of their pilgrimages or wrote them in person, but their growing participation attracted hostile male comment.