Special Sub-Topic: Katherine Swynford
|Which English monarch was on the throne when Katherine was born? |
Edward III. Edward had been on the throne for almost thirty years when Katherine was born. When she came to court, he can have had little idea of the role that such an apparently insignificant young woman would play in the future of the royal line.
|Sir Payn Roet, Katherine's father, played a distinctive role on the battlefield. What was it?|
He was a herald in Flanders. Sir Payn spent his entire life as a herald, but was knighted on the battlefield shortly before his death. It is likely that it was his bravery on the battlefield which brought his children under the protection of Queen Philippa.
|How many siblings did Katherine have?|
Three - Philippa, Walter and Isabel. Philippa is the better known of Katherine's siblings, as the wife of Geoffrey Chaucer. There were, however, two other Roet children. Isabel (sometimes known as Elizabeth) later became chanoinness of the convent of St Waudru's, Mons. This occured at about the same time Katherine came to court. Interesting coincidence ...
|Katherine's sister Philippa was the wife of Geoffrey Chaucer. To whom was Geoffrey's work 'The Boke of the Duchesse' dedicated?|
Blanche of Lancaster. The 'Boke of the Duchesse' was dedicated to Blanche of Lancaster, who was then the wife of Geoffrey's patron, John of Gaunt. Both Constance and Katherine later married John. Anya Seton's novel, Katherine, implies that Chaucer's Troilus and Cressida was written to commemorate the love of John and Katherine, but sadly there is no way to verify this. Joan of Kent was the wife of Edward, John's elder brother.
|Where was Katherine raised?|
In a convent. Katherine was raised in a convent. There is evidence that her sister Philippa may well have spent some of her minority in Queen Philippa's entourage. Philippa was certainly named after the queen - this practice was common among courtiers as a way to try to bring their children within the favour of a potential patron. All of those Philippas in one small space must have made for great confusion!
|Katherine joined her sister at court at the age of fifteen. She was soon betrothed. Who to?|
Sir Hugh Swynford. Katherine and Hugh were soon married. It is unlikely that there is any truth in the rumour that Katherine later murdered Hugh in order to be with John - a husband was rarely a particular hindrance in the world of official mistressdom in those days ...
|Shortly after Hugh's early demise, Katherine was attached to John of Gaunt's household. In what capacity?|
Governess. It is likely that Katherine became John's official mistress later in life, but at this stage she was merely the 'governess'. She would not have been a wet nurse at this stage, as she was not bearing children herself, what with being a widow and all. Katherine did become an armiger, but this means she was the owner of her own achievement of arms, and does not describe her occupation within the household.
|How many children did Katherine have?|
Seven. They were Blanche, Thomas and Margaret Swynford, and John, Henry, Thomas and Joan Beaufort. John Beaufort was the great grandfather of Henry VII of England, and the grandfather of James II of Scotland.
|Katherine's death came only a few years after the death of King Richard II. One of her children had an interesting relationship with Richard in his closing years. Which of these statements is correct?|
Thomas Swynford was the constable of Pontefract Castle, where Richard was reputedly murdered.. Thomas has inevitably been accused of starving Richard, in order to help his half-brother Henry IV to obtain and keep the throne. We'll probably never know the truth ...
|Which of these best describes Katherine's coat of arms?|
Three gold wheels on a red background. The wheels represented Katherine's maiden name - de Roet. It is unlikely that someone of her status would be allowed to display a crown on their arms. Unfortunately I don't have the heraldic knowledge to describe the coat of arms in its proper terms, but if anyone can do so and provide similar descriptions for my other options, I'll be happy to include them. Admittedly convents and pearls aren't exactly traditional heraldic devices ...
I hope you enjoyed my first quiz as much as I enjoyed making it.
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