09 November, 2014

King's Lynn - In the Footsteps of Margery Kempe

A tribute to the meadieval divine Margery Kempe, the patron of this blog - and a visit to Kings Lynn. There is a lot left of mediaeval King's Lynn so Margery Kempe would be familiar with the town as it is today. She would know the minster where there is a display about her- a boisterous controversial and outspoken woman well fitted to be patron of this blog. She openly speaks of her sexual desires, her madness and her love of fine clothing, she also speaks of her pride, shame, fear and desolation. She converses with bishops and prays hard. She is accused of being a heretic and a lollard. She is in the vangaurd of the reformation for she insists on a personal relationship with our Saviour without the mediation of priests. She is also the first travel writer and is perfectly happy walking along with a bottle of beer, something I have done myself. She deserves more recognition and in the Church of England her feast is celebrated on 9 November. Margery would be familiar with King's Lynn Minster - indeed it was her church as one of the Merchant and Civic class of Lynn. There is a display about her there and a booklet to buy - good bargain at £1.50 but not always coherent. The church was not a minster when she lived there but a benedictine priory. She would see pilgrims disembarking and going to Walsingham to worship at the holy House. She would know the meadieval streets of the town. The meadieval King's Lynn (or Bishop's Lynn as it was then) was a place of pilgrimage, a rich port and a place with churches and guilds. There was a pilgrim's chapel in what is now The Walks The Red Mount Chapel was for pilgrims and is now preserved as an ancient monument. It was closed when I called and does not seem to open very often. It has a fan vaulted roof (it says 'ere). Greyfriars tower is all that remains of a Franciscan friary and only survived because it was a sea mark to guide ships into port. There are some interesting bosses including a man straddling a pot! .