E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
A pilgrim privileged to carry a palm-staff. In Fosbrokes British Monachism we read that certain prayers and psalms being said over the pilgrims, as they lay prostrate before the altar, they were sprinkled with holy water, and received a consecrated palmstaff. Palmers differed from pilgrims in this respect: a pilgrim made his pilgrimage and returned to public or private life; but a palmer spent all his days in visiting holy shrines, and lived on charity.