Women and Religion in Late Medieval Norwich

Women and Religion in Late Medieval Norwich

Carole Hill


Royal Historical Society



A vivid account of the nature and significance of intense female spirituality in one of England's greatest medieval cities.
The religious attachments and charitable activity of women in and around late medieval Norwich are used here as a case study to consider women and religion in the period more generally. Drawing on uniquely rich and varied sources, the book demonstrates, far more fully and effectively than studies for other cities have been able to do, how links with continental Europe enriched female life. Norwich's successful status as an international depot - especially its trade with the Low Countries and with Germany -- became the vehicle for the transmission of various cults, artistic expression and books related to continental female mysticism. Norwich women's special attraction to aspects of incarnational piety is demonstrated by their devotion to the Body of Christ and to his earthly family, exemplified by the popular cults of St Anne and her daughter, the Virgin Mary. The wealth of fifteenth-century literature, much of local provenance, which survives highlights both this and other religious preoccupations of Norwich women. Among them are, of course, Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe, who are here reinterpreted within the wider context of the religious life of the medieval city, and of women's contributions to it.

CAROLE HILL gained her PhD from the University of East Anglia.


December 2010
8 colour, 13 black and white, 1 line illustrations
234 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Royal Historical Society Studies in History New Series
ISBN: 9780861933044
Format: Hardback
Royal Historical Society
Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter   Pin it   Share by Email

Table of Contents

St Anne
The cult of St Margaret of Antioch
The cult of St Mary Magdalen
St Bridget of Sweden, 1303-1373
Norwich women and the seven corporal works of mercy
Appendix 1: Material Evidence for the cult of St Anne in Norwich and Norfolk
Appendix 2: Material Evidence for the cult of St Margaret of Antioch in Norwich and Norfolk
Appendix 3: Material Evidence for the cult of St Mary Magdalen in Norwich and Norfolk


Contributes significantly to our understanding of medieval society, culture and beliefs. ANNUAL BULLETIN OF HISTORICAL LITERATURE

A powerful exposition of local and localized piety. MEDIEVAL PROSOPOGRAPHY, vol. 28, 2013

The intention of this book is to demonstrate the significance of Norwich as a well-connected mercantile community for the development of an organised cult of those saints with a particular resonance for women. In this it succeeds admirably. HISTORIANS OF WOMEN RELIGIOUS, January 2013

Skillful, informative and thought provoking (...) Hill's creative use of material and testamentary, as well as literary and archival sources to recover the piety of women from social strata below that of the nobility and gentry make Women and Religion in Late Medieval Norwich an excellent textbook for university courses in medieval culture and religion, and medieval gender studies and women's studies. MEDIEVAL REVIEW

An interesting and thought-provoking book which throws new light on our understanding of the feminine aspects of religious life in the long fifteenth century. THE RICARDIAN

Also in Series