ABSTRACT

The previous chapter considered the origins of the cult of St Katherine in eleventh-century Normandy. This chapter examines a second regional example from approximately the same period, namely the origins of the English cult of St Katherine, to establish whether similar processes were at work. In so doing, it is hoped to develop a model to explain the processes underlying the early development of Katherine’s cult. The period covered by this case study of England is c.1030 to c.1200. In contrast to Normandy, the introduction of Katherine’s cult into England followed a pattern more typical of the emergence of the cult in the East. Thus, it began with the liturgical veneration of Katherine and continued with the development of a hagiographical tradition. Physical foci were only created later, frequently in the form of altars and chapels within churches dedicated to another patron. Usually only secondary relics were to be found in these locations – indeed I have found only one instance of primary relics of Katherine being claimed by an English religious centre. 1