Baptismal Privilege Controversy: Evidence from The Book of Margery Kempe 
The 15th-century memoirs by the Margery Kempe, a burger’s wife of Lynn, gives insight into the impressive development of the sculpted stone baptismal font in East Anglia.  She included a record of her vehement opposition to the granting the privilege of baptisms to the church of St. Nicholas in Lynn, founded as a chapel of St. Margaret’s, her own parish church.  In 1374 and again in 1432, coinciding, it seems, with new building campaigns, the parishioners of St. Nicholas sued to have a christening font, to conduct marriages, and to perform the rite of purification after childbirth.  Margery introduces this issue by an oblique statement, characteristic in her work, that this dispute arose “in a worshepful town.”  In reality, her father, while mayor, had also been opposed to this innovation.  The mayor “John de Brunham” appears in the three lists of burgesses attesting in 1378 to reasons to refuse privileges of the sacraments of marriage, baptism, and purification to St. Nicholas. Brunham had been mayor in 1370, then for two consecutive terms, 1377-8. 
 Baptisms and Purifications [Churchings] were clearly two very popular social activities.  Authority to perform these rites would have made “the chapel eqwal to the parysch cherch” (Ch. 25; line 1365), as Margery states.  Margery has a revelation, an understanding in her soul, that though the parishioners behind this scheme would give a bushel of money, “thei schuld not have it” and because of her foreknowledge, “sche was the mor bold to preyn owyr Lord to wythstonde her intent and to slakyn her bost” (Ch. 25;1370). The kind of font that the parishioners of St. Nicholas would have commissioned can be seen in the font now in St. Andrew's Church, Norton.  An early 15th century form, it has room for painted armorials, invariably to be claimed by the important families of the parish.  Others include Bures, St. Mary, and Wissington, St. Mary, showing armorial shields (H. Munro Cautley, Suffolk Churches [1982], pl. 75).