The Cult of St Katherine of Alexandria in Late Medieval England

October 2000
2 black and white, 8 line illustrations
306 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9780851157733
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS037010, HIS015000

The Cult of St Katherine of Alexandria in Late Medieval England

Katherine J. Lewis

First large-scale study of widespread saint's cult reveals valuable detail of medieval life.
The cult of St Katherine of Alexandria enjoyed great popularity throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, retaining a wide appeal right up to the Reformation; she appears in a wide variety of 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 of femininity and young womanhood. This study, the first full-scale interdisciplinary examination of a saint's cult in late medieval England, looks at the processes by which she came to have such a prominent place in the devotions of English men and women from across the wide social scale; using written and visual narratives of Katherine's life, in combination with documentary evidence provided by wills, inventories and gild returns, the author shows how devotees perceived and responded to her, and the various religious, social and cultural roles assigned to her.

Dr KATHERINE J. LEWIS teaches at the University of Huddersfield.


This fine study should be commended to students of church history and medieval literature. JOURNAL OF ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY
A most useful overview of the interactive raltionship between the cult of St Katherine and the social context of late-medieval England... brings together a wealth of material from sources that are too often overlooked or segregated by discipline. SPECULUM
The first full-length study of an individual saint cult in late medieval England... Demonstrat[es] the wide popularity of St Katherine, leaving little doubt that this was one of the most important saint cults in late medieval England. ALBION

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