Wooden rosary beads: 15th century
© Museum of London
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String of twenty seven round wooden beads. The beads are original, the string is modern. The beads on the rosary were organised in symbolic number sequences at intervals of five, seven or ten, and were used in repetitive prayers of penance and devotion. One Italian visitor to London in 1498 noted that people "attend Mass every day, and say many Paternosters in public (the women carrying long rosaries in their hands, and many who can read taking the office of our Lady with them, and with some companie in reciting in church verse by verse, in a low voice, after the manner of churchmen)." Rosaries were made illegal in 1549, although many Londoners probably continued to use them in the privacy of their homes.
1400 AD - 1500 AD