As early as the 8th century the custom prevailed of making devotional journey to the shrine of Saint James the Greater, at Compostela, Spain. The habit of carrying home scallop shells from Galicia as proof of the journey, extended to other pilgrimages until this shell became, not only the symbol of Saint James, but also of pilgrims. Boys of London may still be seen building grottos of oyster shells on 5 August, formerly the feast of Saint James. The pilgrimage was frequently made in expiation of sin.
- “pilgrimage of Compostela“. . Saints.SQPN.com. 5 February 2013. Web. 7 March 2014. <>