SSA Gallery

The Society of Scottish Armigers
Home > WA Hundred Years War 1337-1453
Click to view full size image
08d. The Duchess of Lancaster's Personal Arms
Arms: Gules three Catherine wheels Or

Katherine (de Roët, Swynford ) of Lancaster was born circa. 1350 perhaps on 25 Nov, the feast day of St. Catherine of Alexandria. She died 10 May 1403, age 52-53

The arms and blazon shown above were adopted by her after her marriage to John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster in 1396.

We think this is an early example (14th century ) of "spin doctoring".
Katherine was for at least two months after her marriage,
the First Lady of England, being that the King, Richard II. was a widower.

St Catherine of Alexandria was one of the favorite and most revered of
medieval saints in England. And, we understand, a personal favorite
of Katherine and her personal choice of patron saint.

We feel that the newlyweds probably discussed the matter and decided to burnish
the Duchess's image with the substitution of Catherine wheels for the silver wheels
used by the Roëts. The idea was to brush the dust of being a sometime mistress
under the rug.

It also must be said in fairness, that in those days when religion
was such an important factor of everyday life, that the adoption
of Catherine wheels reflected the Duchess's devotion to this saint.

We know that Katherine started using these new arms straight away.
Examples are the many religious vestments she had made with her
arms embroidered upon them gifted to the Cathedral of Lincoln.
We know about them as these gifts were recorded in the Cathedral's records.

The artwork is a rendering by John Hamilton Gaylor

2018 1027
Beaufort2L.jpg Beaufort1B.jpg RoetKatherine3.jpg GauntRoet.jpg GauntCastile.jpg
Rate this file (No vote yet)