In More 'medieval' pilgrims in the Netherlands we wrote on this forum
Now -to our amazement we must admit- we read in CHAPTER IX: "GARLEEK, OYNONS, AND EEK LEKES" of The Pilgrim and the Book: A Study of Dante, Langland, and Chaucer (by Julia Bolton Holloway -remember that name!) on http://www.questia.com/read/65085795To take the cockle is synonymous with Old Dutch 'Palster ende scerpe nemen' meaning to take the staff (bourdon) and scrib (wallet for letters of recommandation) like a well-known English pilgrim is doing on the Camino these days.
Did anyone notice any pilgrims displaying cockle shells on their hats lately in the Holy Land?(...) Therefore Dame Lent . . . made a now to go to Jerusalem; she put great effort into going across the sea. . . . On Good Friday she dressed in a pilgrim's cloak, a big, round hat with many scallop shells on it, a staff laden with religious images and on it a fine palm branch, a basket and beads so as to say her prayers rapidly, shoes that were round-toed and double-soled; she flung a big sack over her back, there she stored rolls and pieces of sacramental bread, pilgrims go equipped with these things.(...)