Margery Kempe, c. 1373 – after 1438, was by birth and marriage a member of the mercantile urban elite of Bishop's (now King's) Lynn, Norfolk, at that date a busy and prosperous trading centre with connections to mainland Europe. She was the daughter of John Brunham, five times mayor of Lynn and the wife of John Kempe, a burgess of Lynn, to whom she bore fourteen children. Evidently unsatisfied by domestic life, she made her mark first as a businesswoman, then as a mystic, Bride of Christ, prophet, pilgrim and autobiographer.

Almost everything known about Margery Kempe is derived from that autobiography, now known as The Book of Margery Kempe, which she dictated to two scribes in the period 1436-8. The Book seems to have had a limited medieval circulation. The sole surviving manuscript

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Citation: Salih, Sarah. "Margery Kempe". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 October 2001 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=5093, accessed 23 June 2024.]

5093 Margery Kempe 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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