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08c. Katherine of Lancaster
Marital arms of Katherine, Duchess of Lancaster

SOURCE, NOTES & CREDITS: Source for blazon: BGA, edition of 1884, reprint 1989, page 63, column one. Source for text: “Katherine” by Anya Seton, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1954; “Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe”, by Louda and MacLagan, Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., Publishers, New York, 1981; “Katherine Swynford, The History of a Medieval Mistress” by Jeannette Lucraft, The History Press, The Mill, Brimscombe Port Stroud, Gloucestershire, 2006, 2010; “Mistress of the Monarchy” by Allison Weir, Ballantine Books, 2009; and various internet sources.

John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster married Lady Katherine Swynford circa. 14 Jan 1396.
This was John of Gaunt’s third marriage as the second husband to Lady Katherine Swynford (née de Roët)( circa 1350-1403), daughter of Sir Payn de Roët and who had married firstly Sir Hugh Swynford. ( circa 1340-1371)

Before their marriage they had, out of wedlock, the four Beaufort children between 1373 and 1382.
John Beaufort (circa 1373-1410 ) ( see his two entries )
Henry Beaufort (circa. 1375-1447 ( see his entry as )
Joan Beaufort ( circa.1377-1440 ) ( see her entry )
Thomas Beaufort ( circa. 1381-1426 ) (see his entry )

After they got married they didn't have more children.

It is to be noted here that Katherine's arms have changed:
they were now: Gules three Catherine wheels Or.
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 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 also 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 of John Hamilton Gaylor.

2018 1014
Beaufort1B.jpg RoetKatherine3.jpg GauntRoet.jpg GauntCastile.jpg GauntBlanche.jpg
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