• PLEASE NOTE: Please think twice before you travel to Spain now. More here.

Search over 55.000 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Camino Masks
12 different designs, shipped world wide from Santiago.
Holy Year Credential
Get the HOLY YEAR Camino Credential (Passport) here.

Women Pilgrims in Middle Ages


Deleted member 397

A new book coming out at the end of march looks interesting-except for the US$147 price. Below is the blurb:
Wandering Women and Holy Matrons: Women As Pilgrims in the Later Middle Ages (Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions)
Leigh Ann Craig
This book explores women's experiences of pilgrimage in Latin Christendom between 1300 and 1500 C.E. Later medieval authors harbored grave doubts about women's mobility; literary images of mobile women commonly accused them of lust, pride, greed, and deceit. Yet real women commonly engaged in pilgrimage in a variety of forms, both physical and spiritual, voluntary and compulsory, and to locations nearby and distant. Acting within both practical and social constraints, such women helped to construct more positive interpretations of their desire to travel and of their experiences as pilgrims. Regardless of how their travel was interpreted, those women who succeeded in becoming pilgrims offer us a rare glimpse of ordinary women taking on extraordinary religious and social authority.
Silver Oxide Camino de Santiago pendent
Camino de Santiago pendant that has a shell on the front, and "Camino de Santiago" engraved on the back. Comes with a black cord. Pendent is slightly larger than a 50 euro cent coin, about 25mm.
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.


Active Member
The Book of Margery Kempe (1430)

A great pilgrim!

The Book of Margery Kempe, Book I, Part I , with footnotes
Edited by Lynn Staley - Originally Published in The Book of Margery Kempe
Kalamazoo, Michigan: Medieval Institute Publications, 1996
Here begynnyth a schort tretys and a comfortabyl for synful wrecchys, wherin thei may have gret solas and comfort to hem and undyrstondyn the hy and unspecabyl mercy of ower sovereyn Savyowr Cryst Jhesu, whos name be worschepd and magnyfyed wythowten ende, that now in ower days to us unworthy deyneth to exercysen hys nobeley and hys goodnesse.
http://www.luminarium.org/medlit/kempebk.htm excerpts of her book
http://www.holycross.edu/departments/vi ... rimage.htm
Mapping Margery Kempe Pilgrimage - Maps - Pilgrimage Routes: England - Pilgrimage Routes: England, Europe, and the Holy Land (map) - Pilgrimage Site: Jerusalem: Holy Sepulchre (Grave of Christ), - Medieval Jerusalem - Pilgrimages Italy - Site: Rome, Plan of Medieval Rome - Bibliography
http://www.stmargaretskingslynn.org.uk/ ... _kempe.htm short biography
http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/teams/staley.htm full text
http://classiclit.about.com/od/booklist ... mkempe.htm - 20 books on Margery Kempe

Margery is mentioned in two more posts on this forum now.

PS 17-5-9: "this creature"
Dante explained in Vita nuova that "pilgrim" could be understood generally, referring in the classical sense to a foreigner, a person outside his country, or, specifically, to a traveler to the shrine of St. James in Compostela or another site. The term "pilgrim" especially applied to those people destined for that Spanish location, while those who pilgrimaged to Jerusalem or oltramare were "palmers," and those destined for Rome were "Romeos."[7] In the option of a name—the first personal topic of rhetoric—Loyola is quintessentially a type rather than an indi-[149]vidual; he is a traveler at large while also bound for specific shrines. Although both Peregrinus and Viator were early Christian names,[8] Loyola is not "a" pilgrim but "the" pilgrim, or Everyman. There did exist third-person accounts of pilgrimage and impersonal guidebooks. An example of a pilgrim-author referring to the self in the third person was The Book of Margery Kempe , considered the first English autobiography, where the protagonist was "this creature." Even the usage of "I" and "we" by pilgrim-authors was little personalized in high medieval literature, until more personal touches were added in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. See http://www.escholarship.org/editions/vi ... and=eschol &
http://www.escholarship.org/editions/vi ... and=eschol > Four The Pilgrim


  • Margery Kempe - Here begynneth a schort tretys.jpg
    Margery Kempe - Here begynneth a schort tretys.jpg
    67.5 KB · Views: 4,465

Bridget and Peter

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
I have long been fond of Margery - she had loads of children (I have five), she worked hard in the same town as I do, she came later to pilgimaging and could be embarrassing....

if you have a problem with snoring, just imagine sharing a lodging with someone who sobbed and wailed with passion as she considered the love of God and the sufferings of Jesus! Her travelling companions sometimes set off without her in order to escape!

Go, Margery,go!


Active Member

Bridget and Peter said:
she had loads of children
14, I remember to've read. She passed through Holland twice (ports of Zierikzee and Middelburg). To me she's almost as enchanting as Georgiana! It takes some time to get used to her language but it helped me a lot reading aloud. In those days English and Dutch were quite similar using less verbs. Found some more very interesting sources with a lot of pictures and commentaries:

http://www.questia.com/read/90679771?ti ... ry%20Kempe - INTRODUCTION - LANGUAGE

http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/margery-kempe.htm - Accomplishments or why Margery Kempe was famous: The Book of Margery Kempe is considered to be the first autobiography in the English language

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Margery_Kempe - Kempe and her "Book" are also significant because they record the tension in late medieval England between institutional orthodoxy and increasingly public modes of religious dissent, especially those of the Lollards. Throughout her spiritual career, Kempe's adherence to the teachings of the institutional Church is challenged by both church and civil authorities, most notedly the Bishop of Lincoln

http://www.holycross.edu/departments/vi ... ects/kempe a site including the full text of her book with explanations.

http://www.alibris.co.uk/search/books/q ... ry%20Kempe 140 old and new copies, reviews and comments.

interactivemedpilgrimage.googlepages.com/MK1pg3.pdf (paste this in the Google search window) PILGRIMAGE OF MARGERY KEMPE - Writes biography documenting her visions and travels in The Book of Margery Kempe. Manuscript Trivia: Manuscript lost for many years before being ... - with lots of old and modern day pictures.

A Companion to The Book of Margery Kempe - by John Arnold, Katherine J Lewis (paste title and authors into the Google search window) with chapter 4 on her trials for Heresy, Lollardy and Dissent.

Enjoy and count your blessings on the Camino (she did not see Santiago)!
Camino Cups
Browse our selection of Camino Cups on the forum store
2021 Camino Guides
Most all Camino authors have decided to use 2020 guides for 2021, with free PDF files with updates coming in the spring. Get yours today.


Active Member
More Women Pilgrims in Middle Ages

Following Women Pilgrims in Middle Ages on pilgrim-books/topic5579.html more on:

http://www.umilta.net/egeria.html THE BIBLE AND WOMEN PILGRIMS on Helena and Paula from Rome, Egeria from Spain, Bridget from Ireland, Guthrithyr from Iceland, Margaret from Jerusalem, Birgitta from Sweden, Margery Kempe from England (and others) on Pilgrimage to the Holy Places. See map attached below.

More in the attached Word document More Women Pilgrims in Middle Ages1.doc on:

The presentation given first at St Hilda's College, Oxford, Conference on Women and the Book, and then on Iceland celebrating her Millennium of Christianity since 1000, in Christianity's Jubilee of 2000:
http://www.boydell.co.uk/59914208.HTM Women, the Book, and the Godly
Selected Proceedings of the St Hilda's Conference, 1993, Volume I
Edited by Lesley Smith; Edited by Jane H.M. Taylor
Taking a variety of critical approaches, the papers in Women, the Book and the Godly analyse the subject of women and religion,
http://www.boydell.co.uk/59914798.HTM Women, the Book, and the Worldly
Selected Proceedings of the St Hilda's Conference, Oxford, Volume II
Edited by Lesley Smith; Edited by Jane H.M. Taylor
This second volume of proceedings from the `Women and the Book' conference, held at St Hilda's College, Oxford in 1993, brings together fifteen papers dealing with women's experience in the secular literary world.

http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=65085537 The Pilgrim and the Book: A Study of Dante, Langland and Chaucer by Julia Bolton Holloway ; Revised Edition PETER LANG
http://www.umilta.net/vita.html HOME PAGE/VITA FOR JULIA BOLTON HOLLOWAY

http://www.the-orb.net/non_spec/missteps/ch7.html The Round World's Imagined Corners by Julia Bolton Holloway: (…) Spain particularly is cognisant of the globe. Egeria had been noted in a Spanish document dated from the seventh century to have traversed the whole orb with her pilgrimages made in the fourth century. (...) Spain's monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, came to commission Columbus' Voyage that would bring about America's official discovery. But Dante Alighieri had already postulated, in the Purgatorio, the existence of this 'nuova terra'. As had the Icelandic discovery before him of Vinland. (…)

http://libro.uca.edu/alfonso10/contributors.htm THE LIBRARY OF IBERIAN RESOURCES ONLINE - Emperor of Culture: Alfonso X the Learned of Castile and His Thirteenth-Century Renaissance - edited by Robert I. Burns, S.J. - by Julia Bolton Holloway, Associate Professor and Director of Medieval Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder

Take the cockle to … Jerusalem!? on miscellaneous-topics/topic5968.html
The Book of Margery Kempe (1430) on pilgrim-books/topic5579.html#p32322
Margery on pilgrim-books/topic5579.html#p32338


  • wompilgr.jpg
    60.3 KB · Views: 2,171
  • pilgrimbook1.jpg
    12.8 KB · Views: 2,160
  • More Women Pilgrims in Middle Ages1.doc
    58 KB · Views: 111


New Member
Can I also recommend my own book: Susan Signe Morrison, Women Pilgrims in Late Medieval England: Private Piety as Public Performance (London: Routledge, 2000)? I deal with Santiago a bit, though I focus on England, but it's a good source for anyone interested in women pilgrims in the Middle Ages.
Susan Morrison


Active Member

Camino Conversations

Camino Conversations

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

Most downloaded Resources

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 16 1.2%
  • February

    Votes: 10 0.7%
  • March

    Votes: 60 4.3%
  • April

    Votes: 207 14.9%
  • May

    Votes: 338 24.4%
  • June

    Votes: 101 7.3%
  • July

    Votes: 27 1.9%
  • August

    Votes: 29 2.1%
  • September

    Votes: 399 28.8%
  • October

    Votes: 171 12.3%
  • November

    Votes: 19 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 10 0.7%

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store