II. Duke of Bedford to Lammas Day

See also over 150 images in MMK Devotional Images Database, arranged alphabetically 
See also Catholic Encyclopedia (1905-17), despite the date still useful as a first reference 

Duke of Bedford The Duke of Bedford was John, the third son of Henry IV, born in 1389.  He was created Duke of Bedford in 1414 and died in 1435.  He was the Lieutenant of the kingdom, the chief agent of the crown charged with the identification and eradication of Lollard beliefs. John Capgrave's contemporary description of the execution of Sir John Oldcastle, the Lollard leader, in 1417 notes Bedford's presence: " The Duke of Bedford and those who were present at his death urged him to make faithful and lowly confession of his sins, offering him time and his choice among many priests." 
[Chapter 53]   [Chapter 54]

Easter Kempe spent Easter in Rome probably in 1415.  That she would mention that she waited "until Eastertime had come and gone" to begin her return to England reflects the enormous solemnity of the celebrations connected to Easter.  Holy Week had its great moments, but Easter was the quintessential great feast of Christian practice.  Whether for monastic establishment or parish church, Easter was the moment when the finest mass vestments and service for the altar (chalices, crosses, etc) were taken from church treasuries for the most elaborate ceremonies of the year.  The folded altarpieces were open to reveal the most significant paintings. Specific songs were rehearsed by choirs and sung.  In some churches, a boy's choir would sing from the towers of the church at dawn, imitating the angel of the Resurrection. 
[Chapter 9]   [Chapter 30]  [Chapter 42]   [Chapter 54]   [Chapter 81]  [II: Chapter 3]

Easter Sepulchre The ceremony involved "burying" the host on Good Friday by putting it in a special place and bringing it out for the "Resurrection" on Easter Sunday.  Nightly vigils continued for the faithful from the time of the host's disappearance to its retrieval.  The Rites of Durham give an account of the ceremony:  "After the Passion was sung, two of the eldest monks took a goodly large crucifix all of gold . . lying upon a velvet cushion. The held it up and the monks came barefoot one by one and kissed it. Then the monks carried it to the sepulchre with great reverence, which sepulchre was set up in the morning on the north side of the choir close to the high altar . . . and there they did lay it in the sepulchre with great devotion with another picture of our Savior Christ, in whose breast they enclosed with great reverence the most holy and blessed sacrament of the altar, incensing it and praying to it upon their knees a great space. Sometimes this involved using an image of Christ with a hollowed chest, where a container with the host would be places.  St Peter Mancroft in Norwich is recorded as having a silver-gilt image of Christ showing his bleeding wounds that had a space for a little pyx (sacrament container) in its chest; see Hope, W. H. St John. "Inventories of the Parish Church of St Peter Mancroft, Norwich." Norfolk Archeology 14 (1898-1900), 153-20, p. 209, for image of Christ. By designing a personal tomb that would also function as the Easter Sepulcher, the donor drew attention to his or her gift, insuring that the most poignant and intense prayers connected with the belief in the Resurrection would "wash over" the tomb itself.  On the underside of the arch over the Clopton tomb, in Long Melford, as if the deceased could "see," is an image of the resurrected Christ.  Margery Kempe mentions the ceremony of the Easter Sepulchre at St. Margaret's, Lynn (Ch. 57). 
Duffy, Eamon. The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992, 29-37. 
Evans. Joan. English Art 1307-1461 . Oxford University Press, 1948; reprint Hacker Books, New York, 1981, 169. 
Rubin, Miri. Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. 294-97. 
Sheingorn, Pamela. The Easter Sepulchre in England. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Medieval Institute, Western Michigan University, 1987. 
[Chapter 57]

Elevation   The elevation of the consecrated host was an essential element of the celebration of the Mass in the later Middle Ages. The chalice was also elevated. See Miri Rubin. Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991: 49-60.  During the time of Margery Kempe the two elevations were standard, as attested to by the chronicle of the abbey of St Albans of 1429: it has been decided in this solemn chapter, that the chalices should be raised at the mass by all [monks], except those weighed down by age or infirmity, who cannot elevate the chalice as it is the custom of priests. (Rubin, 56). 

The faithful were encouraged to say specific prayers at the elevation.  A poem of John Lydgate is typical in describing a short, intense moment of contemplation: At the lyftying up of the holy sacrament/ Seythe "Iesu mercy!" with holly affeccion/ Or seythe some other parfyte oryson/ Lyke as ye have in custom devoutly   ( The Minor Poems of John Lydgate. Vol. 1, ed. H. N. MacCracken (EETS ES 107) London. 1909. lines 315-18, p. 101). 

The ringing of bells at the elevation is documented from the 13th century.  In 1287 Bishop Quivril of Exeter differentiated between a large and small “sacring bell.” In 1287 he ordained that a small bell announce the moment, and three peals of a great bell be heard during the elevation: They will be initially excited by the sound of the small bell, and then in the elevation the [large] bell should ring thrice (Rubin, 59). Coventry Statutes in force for Coventry from 1224 to 1237 state: "And we therefore ordain that at the elevation, when it is finally raised up high, the bell will first sound, to be like a gentle trumpet announcing the arrival of a judge, indeed of a savior." (Rubin, 58). 

Ely The district was know as the Isle of Ely, since before the draining of the marshlands (called the Fens) the area around Ely was water.  Ely is directly south of Lynn, on the way through Cambridge to London.  During the Saxon era, the Isle of Ely was assigned to the virgin queen St. Etheldreda as a dowry.  She established a monastic house in 673; the monastery early recorded the presence of her relics, miraculously free from corruption.  The abbey and the Isle of Ely made a significant stand against the forces of William the conqueror in 1066.  Thus for the Norman conquerors, the site had considerable historic and material importance, and after a time of sanctions against the monks, important rebuilding commenced.  The church now shows three significant stages of building: Norman of 1081-1150 in nave and transepts; Early English in six bays of a retrochoir of 1252; and Decorated, a Lady Chapel, crossing with tower, and closest bays of the choir between 1321 and 1342.  See MMK Ely
[Chapter 55]

evensong Evensong is one of canonical hours marked by communal, sung, prayers.  Also referred to as vespers, this service of the church is composed of hymns, scripture readings, and reflection.  The service occurs in the early evening as daylight ends. 
[Chapter 4]   [Chapter 28]

executor to you and fulfill all of your will  Kempe uses this kind of exchange describing her conversations with Christ, a trait that distinguishes her book from those of more traditional authors.  A strong sense of the marketplace pervades Kempe’s association and her analogies, especially in chapters 8 and 63.  She also bargains with her husband; she pays his debts and he grants that they live chastely in Book 11.  Her context is that of a merchant family in a market town, not that of theological discourse.  Thus her “conversations” with Christ often appear in the language of her experience as business contracts. 
[Chapter 8]

fast Fast is a spiritual discipline by which food is voluntarily given up for a defined period of time.  The practice, although common to almost all religions, was strengthened for Christians by the reference to Christ fasting for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert (Matt. 4). 
[Chapter 8]    [Chapter 9]

Fire of Love Incendium Amoris or The Fire of Love was written in Latin by Richard Rolle, also known as Richard of Hampole (1300-1349) during the early portion of the 14th century.  This devotional guidebook was widely read during the Middle Ages.  The book details the purgative steps that one must go through in order to attain intimacy with God.  Meditation is essential to this process of removing sin and selfishness. The four stages in this process are described as the open door, heat, song, and sweetness.  The book is titled Incendium Amoris because the fire of love burns more and more strongly in the soul as one approaches God.  Rolle described the anticipated union with God as a feast that appeals to all the senses.  See also Rolle.
[Chapter 17]   [Chapter 58]  [Chapter 62]

Friars Minor The Friars Minor, also known as the Franciscans or the Grey Friars, are a religious order founded by St. Francis of Assisi (1181/2-1226) on April 16, 1209 in Italy.  The order was intended to minister to all classes.  They tended the sick (especially lepers), built hospitals, assisted the poor, and were missionaries to the Holy Land.  They traveled throughout Italy, Spain, France, Germany, and Egypt spreading their message via preaching. 
The Friar Minors are one of three orders established by Francis, the others being the Poor Clares, a religious order for women, and the Brothers and Sisters of Penance.  The latter, also known as the Tertiary Order is comprised of lay people who wish to follow Francis’ ideals of chastity, humility, patience, prayer, and charity without joining a monastery. St. Elizabeth of Hungary is the most famous member of the Franciscan Third Order. Members of the Friar Minors can be identified by their currently brown, although initially gray, habits, which are tied with knotted white ropes.  Their heads are shaved to form a tonsure and their feet are either bare or wearing sandals. 
"The Pastoral Transformation of the 13th Century" and "Female Sanctity in the Franciscan Movement" in André Vauchez. The Laity in the Middle Ages: Religious Beliefs and Devotional Practices. Ed. Daniel E. Bornstein, trans. Margery J. Schneider. University of Notre Dame Press: South Bend, Indiana. 1993. 
[Chapter 29]   [Chapter 30]  [Chapter 31] [Chapter 69]   [II: Chapter 2][II: Chapter 6]

Friday before Christmas Day This Friday is still within the season of Advent, the four week period for penance and reflection ending on December 25, Christmas Day. Margery Kempe invariably mentions Fridays as days when she experiences intense moments of devotion.  Her behavior parallels the clergy's observance of the life of Christ in a calendar sequence.  Christ's death is commemorated on Good Friday of Holy Week; thus Kempe keeps Fridays as moments of particular pious intensity. 
[Chapter 5]

Gesine The chapel of the Gesine, dedicated to the Nativity, or the birth of Jesus, was contained within the confines of St. Margaret’s Church. This title was common enough at the time and other later medieval church in England are known to have had chapels with such a dedication.  Scholars speculate about its location.  It was presumably in a publicly accessible area of the church, thus either located in the nave or the transept.  In Kempe's time the transepts were larger than those at present, and extended to the north and south, where additional chapels could have been accommodated.  Kempe speaks of entering the chapel from the market place, to the north of the church. 
[Chapter 69]

gold pipes Gold pipes are included in a type of elaborate head-dress more commonly called a crespine, which was constructed of gold wires and mesh sometimes shaped into “horns” or “pipes.” An expensive fashion accessory, a crespine would identify a wearer as wealthy or at least as aspiring to wealth. 
[Chapter 2]

Good Friday Good Friday is acknowledged in Christianity as the Friday during Holy Week, the day that the Church designates as the anniversary of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  The service that is celebrated on this day includes the climactic adoration of the Cross.  The sacrament is removed from its tabernacle; in Kempe's time it was placed in a type of tomb called the Easter Sepulchre. (See Easter Sepulchre) The day is an intensely emotional and highly significant holiday in the Christian faith. 
[Chapter 57]   [Chapter 69]  [II: Chapter 3]

Guild of the Trinity (Lynn) The Guild of the Holy Trinity was the most prestigious of Lynn's merchant guilds.  In the intersection of religious, social, and economic life in the Middle Ages, organizations such as merchants' guilds functioned as trade organizations, insurance agencies for their members, and religious fraternities.  The Guild of the Holy Trinity, where Margery Kempe eventually became a member, has its meeting hall facing the town center and the Saturday marketplace. It is directly across from St. Margaret's church, which by the late Middle Ages had a chapel dedicated to the use of guild members. When mercantile activity gradually shifted northward to the Tuesday Market adjacent to the public quay, other guildhalls, such as St. George's, were also built further north.  Guildhalls, as extant in Norwich, Leicester, as well as King's Lynn, were designed for large meetings. After the great churches, they were the most lavishly constructed public edifices in the city. In the later Middle Ages they were provided with an impressive timbered room (meeting hall), over a solidly constructed basement level, which often functioned as the town jail. 
[Chapter 2]   [Chapter 67]

hair-cloth Hair-cloth is the term for a shirt made from the hair of a mountain goat or a camel. An uncomfortable garment, the coarse hair was worn inside next to the skin as a means of penance or self-discipline.  The hair-cloth could also serve as a symbol of a person undergoing public penance. In Canterbury the hair shirt reputedly worn by the martyred Thomas Becket was displayed to pilgrims. 
[Chapter 4]    [Chapter 5]   [Chapter 11] [Chapter 35]

heretic   The term heretic describes individuals who dissented from the beliefs or practices of the controlling Christian religious authorities.  This is different from the non-believer such as the Jew or Muslim who operated outside the Christian faith.  In the Middle Ages, heretical beliefs, for example the Lollard's rejection of the Trinity or the Albigensian's belief in both a good and an evil god, were invariably tied to political dissent, challenging not only the issues of faith but also the secular powers of church authorities.  Fierce persecutions, and in the extreme, public executions, were therefore supported since the dissenters were seen as both heretical and treasonous. 
[Chapter 13]   [Chapter 52]  [Chapter 53]   [Chapter 57]   [II: Chapter 10]

Hilton, Walter   Little is known about the life of Walter Hilton (d. 1396), except that he was a member of an Augustinian religious order located in Nottinghamshire, England.  He is believed to have been the head of this order.  Hilton is best known for The Ladder of Perfection, a spiritual guidebook that was widely read during the 15th century.  The Ladder, (often called the Scale of Perfection), focuses on the idea that the soul must be purified of sin and vices before it can achieve union with God.  Hilton also rejects the idea of living the secluded life of hermit in favor of an active life mixed with contemplation.  He stresses the idea that anyone can become closer to God if they are only willing to try.  His inclusive book made Hilton an extremely popular figure during the Middle Ages. 
Hilton, Walter. The Scale of Perfection . Trans. John P.H. Clark and Rosemary Dorward. New York: Paulist Press, 1991. 
Milosh, Joseph E.  The Scale of Perfection and the English Mystical Tradition. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1966. 
Walter Hilton in Wheaton College Christian Ethereal Library
[Chapter 17]   [Chapter 58]

Excerpts from The Ladder of Perfection taken from The Scale of Perfection and the English Mystical Tradition , ed. Joseph E. Milosh (1966, pp. 29, 143) 

Contemplative life lieth in perfect love and charity felt inwardly by ghostly virtues, and by soothfast knowing and sight of God and ghostly things.  This life belongeth specially to them which forsake for the love of God all worldly riches, worships and outward businesses and wholly give themselves body and soul up, their mights and their cunning, to service of God by ghostly occupation.  Now then, since it is so that thy state asketh for to be contemplative, for that is the end and the intent of  thine enclosing, that though mightest  more freely and entirely  give thee to ghostly occupation:  then behoveth thee for to be right busy night and day… (I, iii, p.5) 

And this may not be done by one manner of work, but by divers works and many, after sundry dispositions of men.  As now praying, now thinking, now working some good work, now assaying himself in diverse wises;  in hunger, in thirst, in cold, in suffering of shame and despite if need be, and in other bodily distresses for love of virtue and soothfastness.  This knowest thou well, for this readest thou in every book that teacheth of good living. (II, xx, p. 298)

Hanseatic League   The Hanseatic League was an association of North German cities that in the 14th and 15th centuries held a near monopoly over Baltic commerce.  The association was known from at least 1169 when the city of Lübeck entered into a bond with several trading partners.  During the time of Margery Kempe the Hansa had established trading stations in four major cities: Novgorod in Russia, Bergen in Norway, Bruges in Belgium, and London in England.  From other cities, the League extracted trading privileges, including the East Anglian ports of Ipswich, Yarmouth, Norwich, and Lynn, as well as York, Hull, and Boston.  Warehouses in Lynn are identified with the Hansa. 
Bibliography: Postan, M. "The Trade of Medieval Europe: The North." Cambridge Economic History. Ed. J. H. Clapham, v. 2, Cambridge, 1951: 119-256. 

Hessle Hessle is a town on the north side of the Humber approximately 4 miles west of Hull.  There the Humber is easier to cross. 
[Chapter 53]

Holy Apostles at Rome Church of the Holy Apostles at Rome 
Originally, this church was dedicated only to the apostles St. Philip and St. James the Less, whose bodies are said to be buried within the church.  Now rebuilt from the building Kempe saw, it is located next to the Palazzo Colonna. 
[Chapter 35]

Holy Ghost   The Holy Ghost, according to Christian theology, is a member of the Holy Trinity, God, composed of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three persons possessing a single, divine nature.  The Holy Ghost serves as the unifying connection between God and humanity. In art, the Holy Ghost or (Spirit) in Latin Sanctus Spiritus, was most commonly represented as a dove.  See Trinity
[Proem]    [Chapter 5]   [Chapter 11] [Chapter 13]   [Chapter 15] [Chapter 16] [Chapter 17]
[Chapter 18]   [Chapter 27]  [Chapter 35] [Chapter 36]   [Chapter 55][Chapter 86]   [II: Chapter 2]
[II: Chapter 10]

Holy Kinship   According to popular legend, five of the twelve apostles were actually related to Christ.  The Virgin Mary had two half-sisters, Mary Cleopas and Mary Salome, who bore St. James the Less, St. Simon, St. Jude, St. James the Greater, and St. John the Evangelist.   Therefore these apostles were Jesus's cousins.  The holy women often referred to in the Gospels were identified as his aunts.  Their familial relationship was celebrated as the Holy Kinship and emphasized the political/familial ties that were essential to late medieval life. 

The Holy Kinship refers to the extended family of Jesus descended from His grandmother St. Anne.  St. Anne, married to St. Joachim, was without child for several years.  At this time, the Jews construed barrenness to be a punishment from God, and therefore when Joachim went to the Temple to sacrifice with the men of his tribe, he was rebuked by the high priest who saw Joachim as cursed by God's law and therefore unfit to offer a sacrifice.  Seeking the desert in his despair, Joachim was visited by an angel who told him he would give birth to a daughter, Mary, who would bear the Son of God.  At the same time, an angel appeared to Anne and gave her a similar message.  When Joachim returned home, Anne conceived and eventually gave birth.  Catholic tradition believes that Mary alone out of all humankind was conceived without original sin. 

Soon after Mary was dedicated at the Temple, Joachim died.  According to Jewish custom, his brother, Cleopas then took Anne to be his wife.  Again a daughter was born and again she was named Mary Cleopas.  When afterwards he died, his brother Salome took Anne as a wife.  Another daughter, Mary Salome, was born to them.  Mary was betrothed to Joseph when she conceived Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, and she is believed to have perpetually retained her virginity.  Her half-sisters were respectively wed to Alpheus and Zebedee.  Mary Cleopas gave birth to four sons, three of which numbered among Christ's Apostles: St. James the Less, St. Simon, and St. Jude.  Likewise Mary Salome bore two future Apostles: St. James the Greater and St. John the Evangelist.  Not only were five of the twelve apostles related to Christ by blood, the three Marys appear in the Gospel accounts of the resurrection.  Included among the cousins of Christ is St. John the Baptist, who was born of St. Elizabeth, the daughter of St. Anne's sister, Hismeria. 
In medieval times, Christ's life served as paradigm for one's own life.  Therefore, the bonds of extended family as seen in Christ's life affirmed the social and economic significance of the family, especially with the generation of a middle class in the later Middle Ages.  If one were neither of noble birth nor a peasant, one could show one's power through alliances with other important families and displays of wealth.  Some mercantile families, such as the Clopton's of Long Melford (See MMK Website), even adopted a coat of arms.  Therefore, one's family and their connections defined an individual's place within society.  Thus, the bond of family was expected and natural for Christians of the Middle Ages. 

Gibson, Gail McMurray. The Theater of Devotion: East Anglian Drama and Society in the Late Middle Ages . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989. 
Interpreting Cultural Symbols: Saint Anne in Late Medieval Society. Ed. Pamela Sheingorn and Katherine Ashley. Athens, Ga, 1990 esp. 1-68; 
Sheingorn, Pamela, "The Wise Mother": The Image of St. Anne Teaching the Virgin Mary," Gesta, 32/1 (1993): 69-80. 

Holy Sepulchre, Church of the After Christ was crucified on the cross, his body was laid in a tomb, now known as the Holy Sepulchre.  According to the Gospels, the tomb consisted of a rock depression, which was originally intended for Joseph of Arimethea.  The monument was closed off by a large stone that was rolled in front of the tomb.  At the time of Christ’s death, this tomb was located in a garden on Mount Calvary, which is outside of Jerusalem. In 326, Emperor Constantine I erected a basilica over the tomb, which is now part of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (See MMK Pilgrimage).  A tenet of Christian belief is that Christ rose from this tomb, giving his followers eternal life. 
[Chapter 28]   [Chapter 30]

Holy Thursday Holy Thursday, the day before Good Friday, begins the holiest days of Passion Week and commemorates the institution of the Eucharist by Christ at the Last Supper. Holy Thursday is often referred to as "Maunday Thursday" which originates with the foot washing ritual where the clergy wash the feet of 13 designated individuals to commemorate Christ washing the feet of his disciples (John 13:2-15).  The ceremonies include the public reconciliation of penitents and blessing of the holy oils used throughout the year.  The altars are then stripped as a sign of mourning and in reference to Christ being stripped for his death. 
[Chapter 73]

hoods with the tippets   A loose head-covering, with a cape attached, was worn by both men and women in the late Middle Ages.  A tippet, a long streamer of white material, was attached to the hood of noble or wealthy women. 

Hospital of St. Thomas of Canterbury in Rome There is evidence for the existence of this hospital, which ministered to English pilgrims, as early as the end of the 7th century.  In the later half of the 14th century (c. 1362) St. Thomas of Canterbury was joined with the neighboring church, the Most Holy Trinity of the Scots, listed among the twenty principal churches of Rome. In 1575, under the papacy of Gregory the XIII, the hospital was converted into an ecclesiastical college entrusted to the Jesuit Order.  The church was rebuilt and dedicated to both the Trinity and St. Thomas of Canterbury by the Cardinal of Norfolk.  The interior walls of the church were said to by painted by Nicolo Cerciniano of Pomarancie with scenes of Catholic martyrs of the English persecution of the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1616 a description of the church found in Stato temporale states that the church had a bell tower with three bells and a clock.  There were five altars, two public sepulchers, a library, and a garden.  It also owned several homes and even a vineyard outside the gate of St. Sebastian. 
[Chapter 31]   [Chapter 32]  [Chapter 39]

Humber The River (actually estuary) Humber is located in the east of England on the North Sea inlet.  The river, which is known for its deep waters, begins at the intersection of the Ouse and Trent Rivers.  The Humber lies 40 miles long and ranges from .75 to 7 miles wide stretching east-west.  Humber ports have helped to economically develop the surrounding areas.  Along its banks lie Kingstone Upon Hull (formerly Hull), Grimsby, Immingham and Groole.  After Kempe crossed the Humber she was stopped and accused of being a heretic. 
[Chapter 53]   [Chapter 54]  [Chapter 55]

Incendium Amoris see Fire of Love

Indulgence See Pardon

Ipswich Ipswich (Suffolk) is a major port in southern portion of East Anglia. It was one of the four East Anglian cities where the Hanseatic League had trading privileges. 
[II: Chapter 2]

Jerusalem Jerusalem maintains its distinction as a holy city with Christians, Jews, and Muslims.  For Christians, it is the city in which Christ was presented to God as an infant, where he answered the questions of the elders in the Temple, proclaimed his own message, experienced his Passion and death and so fulfilled his mission.  The places at which these events occurred were considered holy.  Many great indulgences were attached to these sites which in turn attracted thousands of pilgrims.  Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon were the central places of worship and the only places where Jews could practice certain rituals important to their religion.  According to Muslim belief, the rock within the Dome of the Rock was the place at which Muhammad experienced his ascension into heaven through which the afterlife was revealed to him.  Its religious significance for three very different religious groups infused it with cultural tension. 
After the fall of the Roman empire, the region of Palestine fell under the control of Persian and other dynasties which had come to embrace Islam.  The Crusade of 1099 won Jerusalem for Western Christendom, but by 1187 the city had been conquered by Muslim rulers.  These rulers practiced religious toleration to the extent that Christians were allowed to retain possession of a few major pilgrimage sites (e.g . the Holy Sepulcher).  However, the use of these sites came at the price of heavy tribute and the remaining church sites were converted for use as granaries, stables, etc.  Strict guard was set over the pilgrims during their stay in the Holy Land. 
[Chapter 11]    [Chapter 15]   [Chapter 18] [Chapter 19]   [Chapter 28][Chapter 29] [Chapter 30]
[Chapter 34]   [Chapter 40]  [Chapter 48] [Chapter 54]   [Chapter 73][Chapter 78]   [Chapter 85]

Jordan River The River Jordan is the place where the Gospels tell of John baptizing Christ (Matt. 3:13-17).  The baptism was one of the most frequently depicted episodes of Christ's life in art, very possibly because of its importance in setting a precedent for the Christian sacrament of Baptism.  John says, "It is I who ought to be baptizing thee."  Then the heavens opened and the Holy Ghost descended as a dove and a voice came from heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."  Thus, the Trinity, of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of great theological and popular importance in Kempe's time, is made manifest. 

Julian of Norwich Julian of Norwich (1342-{1416-1423}), referred to as Dame Julian by Margery Kempe, was the author of the Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love (also called Showings). The book detailed the nature of her spiritual revelations.  She was a member of the Benedictine Order in Norwich, at St. Julian’s church. Julian was known as an anchoress or hermit within this community because of her desire to separate from society and devote herself to prayer and penance. Little else is known about her background.  When Julian was extremely sick, after contemplating the Cross for an extended period of time she received a vision from God of Christ’s suffering.  She recovered from her illness and began twenty years of meditation on this vision.  Her book is the result of this time.  She compared God’s love for humans to that between a mother and child.  According to Julian, it is impossible to understand the self without first seeking to understand God.  Modern scholarship has identified her as an important medieval mystic. 
Aers, David and Lynn Staley. Powers of the Holy: Religion, Politics, and Gender in Late Medieval English Culture . University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 1996. 
Baker, Denise Nowakowski. Julian of Norwich’s Showings: From Vision to Book. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994. 
Julian of Norwich. Showings . Trans Edmund Colledge and James Walsh, pref. Jean Leclercq. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press. 
Julian of Norwich. Revelations of Divine Love. Trans. Clifton Wolters. Penguin Books: New York, 1966. 
[Chapter 18]

keys of the buttery   Access to the larder was both a privilege and duty in the medieval household. The wife, in charge of the domestic realm, is often depicted in art with both keys and a purse, symbol of her control of the finances needed to manage the house.  To have them withheld was a statement of Margery Kempe’s severe incapacity. 
[Chapter 1]

Lambeth Lambeth Palace in London, on the eastern bank of the Thames river, was the residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury.  Directly across the river was Westminster Abbey, burial place of the English royalty. 
[Chapter 16]

Lammas Day Until recently (1960) the Catholic Church celebrated a feast day to commemorate the dedication of the church of St. Peter’s Chains on August 1.  Located on the Esquiline hill, this church housed the highly venerated relics believed to be filings from the chains with which Peter was bound while in prison.  According to Acts 12:7-11, an angel miraculously appeared to him and told Peter to rise.  The chains instantly fell from his hands and the angel led him out of prison. This feast also memorializes the recovery of the relics of the chains through which many miracles were accomplished.  Furthermore, this feast of liberation was also seen as a day of celebrating the apostles' authority to forgive sins, since chains were often seen as a symbol for sin. 
Kempe spent Lammas Day of 1414 in Assisi.  There she participated in the plenary indulgence granted to all who keep vigil from Vespers of August 1 to the Vespers of August 2 at the Portiuncula Chapel.
[Chapter 31]   [II: Chapter 10]

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