Women and Religion in Late Medieval Norwich

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.