King’s Lynn remembers extraordinary medieval mystic
This weekend as part of King’s Lynn’s Norfolk Day celebrations a memorial bench for the medieval mystic, pilgrim and author Margery Kempe was declared open and auditions were held for a new play about her extraordinary life.
On Norfolk Day, Friday, July 27, the Mayor of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, Cllr Nick Daubney, cut the ribbon on a new bench as a memorial to the town's own mystic, visionary, pilgrim and author, Margery Kempe.
Margery Kempe was born in King’s Lynn around 1373. The daughter of a merchant who became Lynn mayor and MP, she was married to John Kempe and had 14 children with him. Margery experienced visions of Jesus and was known for intense emotional outbursts during worship. She recounted her visions to Julian of Norwich during a visit to her cell around 1413 and also met with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Margery loved to travel and engaged in pilgrimages including to Jerusalem and Rome. In her later years she dictated what is thought to be the first autobiography in the English language, ‘The Book of Margery Kempe’.
The beautiful memorial oak bench was designed by local craftsman Toby Winteringham and organised by the King’s Lynn Civic Society. It is in situ in the Saturday Market Place opposite Margery's home church, King’s Lynn Minster, inscribed with what is thought to be the years of her birth and death ‘1373 Margery Kempe 1440, Author Pilgrim Mystic’.
Also this weekend at King’s Lynn’s Marriott’s Warehouse open auditions were held for a new play ‘Skirting Heresy: The Life and Times of Margery Kempe’ based on the book by New York journalist, Elizabeth MacDonald.
The play is being led by the True Yard’s Museum with an original score created by Gareth Calway, Andy Wall and Vanessa Wood-Davies and will be staged at King's Lynn Minster on September 22. Tickets are available here.
Photo: Courtesy of @RealMargery on Twitter