I am wondering about the extent of pilgrimage in the High and Late Middle Ages. Does anyone know what proportion of the populace would have gone? At what age, and what social classes? And how many were going all the way to Rome or the Holy Land rather than to a nearby shrine (eg Canterbury?)
It seems improbable that a peasant could drop everything and stroll to Jerusalem - but on the other hand a great many poor Muslims make the Hajj nowadays - might it have been similar back then?
I ask because pilgrimage seems to have been fairly common, yet many authors talk about the Medieval commoner as an intensely parochial sort, without any knowledge of or interest in the world beyond the village borders - it does not jibe.