Journeys in sound with Margery Kempe – first autobiography writer, pilgrim and visionary

11 March @ 18:00 19:00 GMT

Margery Kempe, born in 1373, was from King’s Lynn (then known as Bishop’s Lynn) in Norfolk. Daughter of an important merchant, five-time mayor of Lynn and Alderman of the prestigious Guild of the Holy Trinity, John Brunham, her book is the first autobiography in English, probably written by a scribe on her behalf (although it’s possible she was literate and just felt she had to hide it). The story she tells of her life is extraordinary, both strange and familiar to us today. She was an enthusiastic pilgrim, visiting Rome, Jerusalem, Santiago de Compostela and the relics of the Holy Blood in Bad Wilsnack in northern Germany as well as pilgrimage places in England like Canterbury, Norwich, Leicester, Melton Mowbray, York, Beverley, Lincoln, London and Ely. She even brushed with Norway by accident when the boat taking her to Germany was swept off course. In my concert, I evoke some of her journeys and meetings with music from the places she visited. There will be Gregorian chants from Cyprus and from Jerusalem, pilgrim songs, music from the Old Hall manuscript, medieval English carols in honour of saints alongside sacred music from places Kempe visited in Germany, Spain and Italy.

St Michael’s Church

South Grove
Highgate, London N6 6BJ
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