The Cult of St Katherine of Alexandria in Late Medieval England

December 2, 2020
The Cult of St Katherine of Alexandria in Late Medieval England

The cult of St Katherine of Alexandria enjoyed great popularitythroughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, retaining a wideappeal right up to the Reformation; she appears in a wide varietyof contexts, in association with concepts of royal and civic power,by the end of the period becoming identified as a British saint,and acting as a model of the ideal lay Christian and a paradigm offemininity and young womanhood. This study, the first full-scaleinterdisciplinary examination of a saint's cult in late medievalEngland, looks at the processes by which she came to have such aprominent place in the devotions of English men and women fromacross the wide social scale; using written and visual narrativesof Katherine's life, in combination with documentary evidenceprovided by wills, inventories and gild returns, the author showshow devotees perceived and responded to her, and the variousreligious, social and cultural roles assigned to her. Dr KATHERINEJ. LEWIS teaches at the University of Huddersfield.