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1348 - 1540, The plague of the Black Death to the Dissolution of the Monasteries

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The Lion & Key is said to have been a tavern on a pilgrimage route between the abbeys at Stratford and Waltham Abbey.  Even if it were, it would have had far fewer visitors than the route between London and Canterbury Cathedral with its shrine to Thomas á Becket.

(Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales show the types of people who were able to go on a pilgrimage. There were advantages in travelling a long distance.  Though confessions of sins to a priest, required annually from 1215, were confidential, many must have preferred to tell their greatest secrets far away from their own community.  In addition to pilgrims, servants and retainers of the rich and powerful, churchmen as well as laymen, would have had tasks that involved travel.  Abbeys had land to administer.)