Favourite tokens worn by pilgrims in their hats. The polished
side of the shell was scratched with some rude drawing of the “blessed
Virgin,” the Crucifixion, or some other subject connected with the
pilgrimage. Being blessed by the priest, they were considered amulets
against spiritual foes, and might be used as drinking vessels.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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