Margery Byrkenhed, Nun
Margery Byrkenhed was a nun at St Mary’s in the 15th century.
St Mary’s often struggled financially during the medieval period. In the mid fifteenth century, for example, records show that money was owed to a number of townsmen: 2s for meat, 23s 4d for grain, £4 10s for cattle, and almost £10 for ale. When the prioress was sued for money owed for wax in 1459, the nunnery’s credit rating evidently wasn’t good – the convent cart had to be offered as surety. During these difficult times, the nuns found comfort and support in prayer. The private prayerbook of the nun Dame Margery Byrkenhed still survives, dating to the fifteenth century. The book includes a ‘Prayer to the Good Angel’, asking the angel to watch over her ‘in this worlde of wyckednesse’.