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Sir John Schorn: The Man who Conjured the Devil into a Boot

  • 27/02/2024
  • 18:00-19:30
  • online talk

Sir John Schorn: The Man who Conjured the Devil into a Boot

A Folklore Society online talk by Wayne Perkins

Tuesday 27 February 2024, 18:00-19:30 GMT

‘Sir,’ ‘Master’ or ‘Maister’ John Schor(e) was the Rector of North Marston in Buckinghamshire in the 13th – 14th centuries. After his death, his shrine became the third most popular pilgrimage destination after Canterbury and Walsingham. Even Henry VIII is said to have visited it in 1511 and 1521.

The income gained from the pilgrims visiting North Marston was so great that his relics were ‘translated’ to Windsor to help finance the chapel of St George.

However, he was never canonized–he only ever held the distinction of ‘folk saint.’ So how did this rural rector garner so much fame?

He is said to have affected many miracles including curing the sick and creating a sacred spring by striking his staff on the ground. This became a Holy Well with a reputation to cure the ague* and gout.

His most feted moment is when it is said that he conjured the devil into a boot – an image captured upon the 14th century pilgrimage badge cast for the many pilgrims who visited his shrine.

The talk will cover the legends associated with John Schorne, a short review of shoe lore (and their associations with fertility and their apotropaic applications), the Holy Well and the phenomenon of the ritual deposition of pilgrim badges in watery locales.

It will also feature a case study of the medieval graffiti and inscriptions found at the site of his shrine in the parish church at Marston – which was subject to an archaeological survey.

Finally – where are Sir John Schorn’s bones? An investigation is underway to try and locate his relics after they were unceremoniously swept aside to make way for the monument to Edward Clinton, who died in 1585.

Tickets £6.00 (£4.00 for Folklore Society members with the Promo Code: log in to the Members Only area at https://folklore-society.com/members-only to get the promo code): https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sir-john-schorn-the-man-who-conjured-the-devil-into-a-boot-tickets-793725312777?

Image credit: Wayne Perkins