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BL Additional MS 61823, described by S. B. Meech (BMK pp. xxxii–xlvi).


Here begynneth a shorte treatyse of contemplacyon taught by our lorde Ihesu cryste, or taken out of the boke of Margerie kempe of lynn .... Here endeth a shorte treatyse called Margerie kempe de Lynn. Enprynted in fletestrete by Wynkyn de worde. Wynkyn de Worde, probably 1501, no title page, no colophon, STC 14924, Cambridge University Library, Sel. 5, 27 (BMK App. II, pp. 353–357).

Re-issued by Henry Pepwell, 1521, in anthology of mystical texts, with heading expanded to conclude .... Margerie kempe ancresse of lynn, and final sentence .... Here endeth a shorte treatyse of a deuoute ancres called Margerye kempe of Lynne. STC 20972, BL C. 37 (variants given in BMK App. II, pp. 353–357).

Pepwell’s anthology modernised and reprinted in The Cell of Self-Knowledge: Seven Early English Mystical Treatises Printed by Henry Pepwell in 1521, ed. by E. G. Gardner (1910), pp. 49–59.


The Book of Margery Kempe, Vol. I, ed. S. B. Meech with prefatory note by H. E. Allen and notes and appendices by S. B. Meech and H. E. Allen, EETS OS 212 (1940). Corrections by H. E. Allen in letter to the Times Literary Supplement, 22 March 1941, p. 139.

Allen’s notes for second unpublished volume held with loose papers, unnumbered, at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania.

The Book of Margery Kempe, ed. L. Staley, TEAMS Middle English Texts Series, (Kalamazoo, Mich: Medieval Institute Publications, 1996).

Extracts from the text included in several anthologies: e.g. Women’s Writing in Middle English, ed. A. Barratt (London, 1992); English Mystics of the Middle Ages, ed. B.Windeatt (Cambridge, 1994).

Modern English version by last private owner of manuscript: The Book of Margery Kempe, 1436, W. Butler-Bowdon, with an introduction by R.W. Chambers (London, 1936; American reprint, New York, 1944; reprinted London, 1954, without date in title).

Modern English paperback version with introduction and notes: B. A. Windeatt, The Book of Margery Kempe (Harmondsworth, 1985; reprinted with updated bibliography, 1994). Modern English extracts in anthologies: e.g. Medieval Women’s Visionary Literature, ed. E. A. Petroff (New York, 1986); Medieval Women Writers, ed. K. Wilson (Athens, Ga., 1984).

Further popular translations and modern English renderings have been made. 
Translated extracts have appeared in anthologies in other languages.


The King’s Lynn Borough Archives (KL) are the main source of documentary evidence concerning the Brunham and Kempe families and other people mentioned in The Book of Margery Kempe. Relevant archives include: Holy Trinity Guild of Merchants’ minutes and accounts, and further minutes, statutes and accounts of religious guilds; Hall rolls and books; registers and enrolments of charters, deeds, wills, including RR, the late fourteenth-century Red Register of King’s Lynn, KL/C10/1, ed. H. Ingleby (1919–21), and the early fifteenth-century William Asshebourne’s Book, KL/C10/2 (not available when BMK was in preparation), ed. D. M. Owen, Norfolk Record Society XLVIII (1981),  and registers of freemen; court records, including Leet rolls; chamberlains’ accounts and, for isolated years, accounts of other borough officers.

The Norfolk Record Office (NRO) has further medieval deeds relating to Lynn properties, and wills proved in the local ecclesiastical probate courts. It also has an exchange of correspondence about Margery Kempe, her family, and possible lines of research, between H. E. Allen and H. L. Bradfer-Lawrence in 1944: NRO BL IV b (Margery Kempe). 

The Corporation of London Record Office, London Guildhall, houses the Liber Lynne, which is a collection of deeds transcribed 1424–1453 in order to establish property rights of the Lawneye and Wyth families in Lynn. The documents transcribed include several from the late fourteenth century with references to John Brunham as witness. A full description of the manuscript is given by S. Jenks, “Der Liber Lynne und die Besitzgeschichte des hansischen Stalhofs zu Lynn”, Zeitschrift des Vereins für Lübeckische Geschichte und Altertumskunde 68 (1988), 21–81.

BMK Appendix III. ‘Extracts from documents’ (pp. 358–375) has a detailed account of and selected extracts from KL and NRO documents, including the only known references to a Margery Kempe:

KL/C38/16 (formerly Gd. 60), an account roll of the Holy Trinity Guild of Merchants, entry for Lent 1438:

Plegius Bartholomeus Colles de Margeria Kempe........................... xx s.

Recept’ in quadragesima per Iohannem Asheden ...........................xx s.

KL/C38/17 (formerly Gd. 61), an account roll of the Holy Trinity Guild of Merchants, entry for the first week of Lent, February 1439:

Et de Iohanne Assheden pro introitu Margerie Kempe in plenam solucionem    xx s.

Transcripts and calendars of selected documents, with introduction and bibliography, are given by D. M. Owen, The Making of King’s Lynn: a Documentary Survey (London, 1984).

References to Brunhams and Kempes not included in BMK, of particular interest with regard to Margery Kempe:

1. KL/C17/3 Leet roll for 1333, records fine imposed on Alice Kempe for forestalling the assize of fish.

2. KL/C17/9 Leet roll for 1375, records fines imposed on John Brunham for obstructing the Tuesday Market with timber, and on John Kempe for breaching the assize of ale.

3. KL/C10/1 (RR) f.120, John Kempe junior elected to Magna Jurata, October 1395.

4. KL/C10/1 (RR) f. 124d, John Kempe’s name cancelled, replaced by Thomas Faukes, within the year.

5. NRO BL VIa (IV) 0.7, the 1408–9 will of Margery Lok,  has a codicil of 1410 in which coral beads and 40 s. are bequeathed to an Isabelle de Brunham. In the same document there is a bequest to John Kepe, which has sometimes been interpreted as Ke[m]pe, but there is no reason for such an interpretation since there was a burgess John Kepe, or Keep, in Lynn at this time.

KL/C39/91, borough officers’ accounts for 1412, includes in list of burgesses Iohannes Brunham hosyer.


This selective list of secondary sources primarily records articles and books of biographical or background interest.

Aers, D., Community, Gender, and Individual Identity: English Writing 1360–1430 (London,1988).

————, ed., Culture and History 1350–1600 (London, 1992).

Atkinson, C.W., Mystic and Pilgrim: the Book and the World of Margery Kempe (Cornell, 1983).

Barratt, A., “The Revelations of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary”, The Library,  Sixth Series, 14 (1992), 1–11.

Barron, C.M. & A.F. Sutton, eds., Medieval London Widows (London, 1994).

Beadle, R., “Prolegomena to a Literary Geography of Later Medieval Norfolk Regionalism”, in Regionalism in Late Medieval Manuscripts and Texts: Essays Celebrating the Publication of ‘A Linguistic Atlas of Late Middle English’, ed. F. Riddy (Cambridge, 1991).

————, “‘Devoute ymaginacioun’and the Dramatic Sense in Love’s Mirror and the N-Town Plays”, in  Nicholas Love at Waseda: Proceedings of the International Conference 20–22 July 1995, ed. S. Oguro, R. Beadle and M. G. Sargent (Cambridge, 1997).

Beckwith, S., “A Very Material Mysticism: The Medieval Mysticism of Margery Kempe”, in Medieval Literature: Criticism, Ideology and History, ed. D. Aers (Brighton, 1988).

Bhattacharji, S., God is an Earthquake: the Spirituality of Margery Kempe (London, 1997).

R. Copeland, “Why Women Can’t Read: Medieval Hermeneutics, Statutory Law, and the Lollard Heresy Trials”,  in S. Heinzelman and Z. Wiseman, eds., Representing Women: Law, Literature and Feminism (Durham; London, 1994).

Cumming, W. P., ed., The Revelations of Saint Birgitta, EETS OS 178 (1929).

Delany, S., Writing Women: Women Writers and Women in Literature, Medieval to Modern (New York, 1983).

Despres, D., Ghostly Sights: Visual Meditation in Late-Medieval Literature (Norman, Okla., 1989).

Dickman, S., “Margery Kempe and the English Devotional Tradition”, in The Medieval Mystical Tradition in England, I, ed. M. Glasscoe (Exeter, 1980).

Dinzelbacher, P., Vision und Visionsliteratur im Mittelalter (Stuttgart, 1981).

Duffy, E., The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England circa 1400–1580 (New Haven;  London, 1992).

Ellis, D.S., “Margery Kempe and King’s Lynn”, in Margery Kempe: A Book of Essays, ed. S. J. McEntire (New York, 1992).

Ellis, R., “Margery Kempe’s Scribe and the Miraculous Books”, in Langland, the Mystics and the Medieval English Religious Tradition, ed. H. Phillips (Cambridge, 1990).

————., ed., The Liber Celestis of St Bridget of Sweden: the Middle English Version in British Library MS Claudius B i, together with a Life of the Saint from the Same Manuscript, Vol. 1: Text, EETS OS 291 (1987).

Erler, M.C., “English Vowed Women at the End of the Middle Ages”, Mediaeval Studies 57 (1995), 155–203.

Fanous, S.B., “Biblical and Hagiographical imitatio in the Book of Margery Kempe”, Oxford, diss., (1997).

Gallyon, M., Margery Kempe of Lynn and Medieval England (Norwich, 1995).

Gibson, G.McM., The Theater of Devotion: East Anglian Drama and Society in the later Middle Ages (Chicago, 1989).

Glasscoe, M., English Medieval Mystics: Games of Faith (London, 1993).

Goodman, A., “The Piety of John Brunham’s Daughter, of Lynn”, in Medieval Women, ed. D. Baker (Oxford, 1978).

Gray, D., “Popular Religion in Late Medieval English Literature”, in Religion in the Poetry and Drama of the Middle Ages, ed. P. Boitani and A. Torti (Cambridge, 1990).

Hanawalt, B., ed., Women and Work in Preindustrial Europe (Bloomington, 1986).

Hirsh, J.C., “Author and Scribe in The Book of Margery Kempe”, Medium Aevum 44 (1975), 145–150.

—————., “Margery Kempe”, in Middle English Prose: a Critical Guide to Major Authors and Genres, ed. A. S. G. Edwards (New Brunswick, 1984).

Holbrook, S.E., “Margery Kempe and Wynkyn de Worde”, in The Mystical Tradition in England, IV, ed. M. Glasscoe (Woodbridge, 1987).

Holloway, J.B., “Bride, Margery, Julian and Alice: Bridget of Sweden’s textual community in medieval England”,  in Margery Kempe: a Book of Essays (New York, 1992), ed. S. J. McEntire.

Howes, L.L., “On the Birth of Margery Kempe’s Last Child”, Modern Philology 90 (1992) 220–225.

Hudson, A., Lollards and their Books (London, 1985).

——————., The Premature Reformation: Wycliffite Texts and Lollard History (Oxford, 1988).

Hutchison, A.M., “Devotional Reading in the Monastery and in the Late Medieval Household”, in De Cella in  Seculum: Religious and Secular Life and Devotion in Late Medieval England, ed. M. Sargent  (Woodbridge, 1989).

Jenks, S., England, die Hanse und Preußen, Handel und Diplomatie, 1377–1474 (Cologne, 1992).

Kieckhefer, R., Unquiet Souls: Fourteenth-Century Saints and Their Religious Milieu (Chicago and London,  1984).

Knowles, D., The English Mystical Tradition (London, 1961).

———————., “Kempe, Margery”, Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique, 17 vols. (Paris, 1932–95); Vol. 8 (1974), cols. 1696–98.

Lepow, L.E., Enacting the Sacrament (Rutherford, N.J.; London, 1990).

Leyser, H., Medieval Women: a Social History of Women in England 450–1500 (London, 1995).

Little, A.G., ed. E. Stone, “Corrodies at the Carmelite Friary of Lynn”, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 9 (1958),  8–29.

Lloyd, T.H., England and the German Hanse 1157–1611 (Cambridge, 1991).

Lochrie, K., Margery Kempe and Translations of the Flesh (Philadelphia, 1991).

—————., “Margery Kempe”, in Medieval England: an Encyclopedia, ed. P. E. Szarmach, M. T. Tavormina  and J. T. Rosenthal (New York; London, 1998), 390b–391b.

Marzac-Holland, N., Three Norfolk Mystics: Richelde de Faverches in Walsingham, Julian, Recluse in Norwich,Margery Kempe in Lynn (Burnham Market, 1983).

McEntire, S.J., ed., Margery Kempe: A Book of Essays (New York, 1992).

McNamer, S., ed., The Two Middle English Translations of the Revelations of St Elizabeth of Hungary (Heidelberg, 1996).

McNiven, P., Heresy and Politics in the Reign of Henry IV (Woodbridge, 1987).

Meale, C., ed., Women and Literature in Britain, 1150–1500 (Cambridge, 1993, 2nd. ed. 1996).

Mitchell, R., The Spring Voyage: the Jerusalem Pilgrimage in 1458 (London, 1964).

Moorman, J.R.H., Medieval Franciscan Houses (St. Bonaventure, N.Y., 1983).

Nelson, A.H., The Medieval English Stage (Chicago, 1974).

Newett, M.M., Canon Pietro Casola’s Pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the Year 1494 (Manchester, 1907).

Nyberg, T., Birgittinische Klostergründungen des Mittelalters (Lund, 1965).

————, Dokumente und Untersuchungen zur inneren Geschichte der drei Birgittenklöster Bayerns 1420–1570. 2 vols. (Munich, 1972–74). Vol. 1, 1972.

Orme, N., “Children and the Church in Medieval England”, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 45 (1994), 563–587.

Owen, D.M., The Making of King’s Lynn: A Documentary Survey (Oxford, 1984).

Parker, V., The Making of King’s Lynn: Secular Buildings from the 11th to the 17th Century (London, 1971).

Riddy, F., “Mother Knows Best: Reading Social Change in a Courtesy Text”, Speculum 17 (1996), 66–86.

Riehle, W., The Middle English Mystics (London, 1981).

Röhricht, R., Deutsche Pilgerreisen nach dem Heiligen Lande  (Berlin, 1880).

Rubin, M., Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture (Cambridge, 1991).

Sargent, M.G., “The Transmission by the English Carthusians of Medieval Spiritual Writings”, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 27 (1976), 225–240.

————, James Grenehalgh as Textual Critic (Salzburg, 1984).

Shklar, R., “Cobham’s Daughter: The Book of Margery Kempe and the Power of Heterodox Thinking”, Modern Language Quarterly 50 (1995), 277–304.

Skorich, K., “A Frontier with Traffic: The Narrative of Margery Kempe’s Eucharistic Piety, with Special Reference  to the Eucharist as a Symbol of Communitas”, Oxford, diss., (1996).

Stachnik, R., ed., with A. Triller and H. Westpfahl, Die Akten des Kanonisationsprozesses Dorotheas von Montau (1978).

Staley, L., Margery Kempe’s Dissenting Fictions (University Park, Pa., 1994).

Stargardt, U., “The Beguines of Belgium, the Dominican Nuns of Germany, and Margery Kempe”, in T. J. Heffernan, ed., The Popular Literature of Medieval England (Knoxville, 1985).

Stenton, F.M., “The Road System of Mediaeval England”, Economic History Review 7 (1936) 1–21.

Tanner, N.P., Heresy Trials in the Diocese of Norwich, 1428–1431 (London, 1977).

Thurston, H., “Margery the Astonishing”, Month 168 (1936), 446–456.

Uhlman, D.R., “The Comfort of Voice, the Solace of Script: Orality and Literacy in the Book of Margery Kempe”,  Studies in Philology 91 (1994), 50–69.

Voaden, R., ed., Prophets Abroad: The Reception of Continental Holy Women in Late-Medieval England (Woodbridge, 1996).

Wallace, D., “Mystics and Followers in Siena and East Anglia”, in M. Glasscoe, ed., The Medieval Mystical Tradition in England, III (Woodbridge, 1984).

Watson, N., “Censorship and Cultural Change in Late-Medieval England: Vernacular Theology, the Oxford Translation Debate, and Arundel’s Constitutions of 1409”, Speculum 70 (1995), 822–864.

Watkins, E.I., “In Defence of Margery Kempe”, in Poets and Mystics (London, 1953).

Watt, D., Secretaries of God: Women Prophets in late Medieval and Early Modern England (Cambridge, 1997).

Weissman, H.P., “Margery Kempe in Jerusalem: Hysterica Compassio in the Late Middle Ages” in Acts of Interpretation, the Text and its Contexts, 700–1600. Essays in Medieval and Renaissance Literature in Honor of E.T. Donaldson, ed. M. J. Carruthers and E. D. Kirk (Norman, Okla., 1982).