Margery Kempe

Margery Kempe
Bornc. 1373
Bishop's Lynn, Norfolk, England
Diedafter 1438
OccupationChristian mystic
Notable worksThe Book of Margery Kempe

Margery Kempe (c. 1373 – after 1438) was an English Christian mystic, known for writing through dictation The Book of Margery Kempe, a work considered by some to be the first autobiography in the English language. Her book chronicles her domestic tribulations, her extensive pilgrimages to holy sites in Europe and the Holy Land, as well as her mystical conversations with God. She is honoured in the Anglican Communion, but was never made a Roman Catholic saint.

Early life and family

She was born Margery Burnham or Brunham around 1373 in Bishop's Lynn (now King's Lynn), Norfolk, England. Her father, John Brunham, was a merchant in Lynn, mayor of the town and Member of Parliament. His mercantile fortunes may have been negatively affected by downturns in the economy of the 1390s (especially in the wool trade), although he was clearly a successful politician. The first record of her Brunham family is a mention of her grandfather, Ralph de Brunham in 1320 in the Red Register of Lynn. By 1340 he had joined the Parliament of Lynn.[1] Margery’s kinsman, possibly brother, Robert Brunham, became a Member of Parliament for Lynn in 1402 and 1417.[2]

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