The Swynford family was an old one, although claims that its ancestry could be traced back to Anglo-Saxon time are unsubstantiated.
The place was in serious disrepair. Katherine Swynford is one of the most famous and enigmatic of medieval women.
Given the familial nature of the Lancastrian household, she would have been permitted to have her growing children with her, to be brought up in company with the ducal children.
The close was accessed from the Bail through the now-ruined Exchequer Gate.
In fact, her legend had been known in England since Saxon times.
It was as well he did so, for when his father, Sir Thomas Swynford, died on3 November 1361, Hugh came into only a poor inheritance, and would have badly needed the money he received as the Duke's retainer and any profits he could make from campaigning. I wonder greatly, by this day’s light, How I still live, for day and night, The sleep I gain is well nigh naught. King Henry IV, son of Blanche was very fond of Katherine and paid her the deepest honour by calling her, the “Kings mother”.
It has been convincingly suggested that it was Blanche Swynford to whom John stood godfather.
Reconnect on plugin Settings page. Their marriage may have taken place in one of the ducal chapels - even perhaps the magnificent chapel of the Savoy. All this would be commensurate with the house having existed in John's lifetime; probably it had been altered during the centuries since his death. Buck tells us that 'the castle was his, but standing much exposed to cold winds, and a place of office for the public service'; because of these drawbacks, 'that Prince probably built this below the hill for warmth, and for the use of his family and domestics, while he resided in this most ancient city'. Thus Enrique had good cause to seek vengeance, and of course he was not the only man who had a score to settle with this 'vile evil-doer', as Walsingham called him. All Rights Reserved. No, his experience of love was of another kind entirely. And she would certainly have benefited personally from a close kinship with Chaucer, whose wisdom, humanity and erudition cannot but have made an impact on her young and impressionable consciousness. Her neck was long, her face round with a high forehead, and her hair elegantly swept up and pinned beneath a golden coronet, which in itself identifies her rank. Late in life, after Philippa had died, Chaucer composed a humorous poem, 'L'Envoy a Bukton' (c.1396), for a bachelor friend of his, warning him of'the sorrow and woe that is in marriage'. He was, of course, already known to the Duke and Duchess, and we might infer fromThe Boke of the Duchesse that he was on friendly if formal speaking terms with both of them. If so, Philippa would have been very young at the time the liaison began, probably no more than twelve or thirteen, hardly old enough to be of much interest to the twenty-four-year-old Duke. All these factors suggest that Blanche was the eldest child of Katherine and Hugh. Beatrice, thirteen, Constance, twelve, and Isabella, ten — had taken refuge at Bordeaux in Aquitaine, where they were accorded every courtesy by the Black Prince, and accommodated in the Abbey of St Andrew. By the time they were written, her affair with John of Gaunt was notorious, and her reputation such that Chaucer could hardly have got away with that last line. In this capacity, he bound himself to take some responsibility for her spiritual needs and her material well-being, and his exalted rank would have conferred on her a special status.
The grounds for this are threefold.
The western chambers of the hall overlooked part of the garden. Mistress of John of Gaunt, one of the most powerful men in England and father of King Henry IV, she later married him in Lincoln Cathedral.
Hugh Swynford - who is incorrecdy named as Otes Swynford in Weever's description of the inscription on Paon de Roët's tomb in St Paul's, in which Philippa de Roët is erroneously called Anne — had been born in 1340 at the latest; his father's Inquisition Post Mortem of December 1361,taken in Lincoln, gives his age as twenty-one years and more.2' This made him at least a decade older than Katherine, and possibly the same age as his master the Duke. Geoffrey and Philippa were probably married well before September 1366. Like Katherine and Hugh Swynford, the newly married Chaucers were both busily employed in a royal household; as we have seen, marriage between royal servants was not uncommon. In 'The Franklin's Tale', Chaucer may have been thinking of the deterioration of his marriage, and perhaps of a continual battle for conjugal supremacy, when he expresses the opinion that.
'7 Far from keeping the peace, he appears to have rather thrown his weight about: in 1356, he and his falconers caused chaos hunting pigeons on the manor of Barton, in defiance of the reeve's protests.
The two were servants to the royal household, Sir Hugh serving the King at arms and Katherine went to serve in the household of Blanche of Lancaster, wife of Prince John, known as John of Gaunt. Being married at such a young age, like many girls of her caste, she had immediately to face the sometimes brutal realities of childbirth, living as she did in an era of high maternal and infant mortality; in this respect, she appears to have been quite hardy, for she was to survive at least seven or eight pregnancies with no apparent ill effects. It availed him little to begin with, because in 1366 he was overthrown by his bastard half-brother, Enrique of Trastamara, backed by Charles V of France, who saw in Enrique a future ally against England. Given these circumstances, Hugh's tenants may not always have found the means to pay their rents, which might explain why, a decade later, in 1372, the manor was still barren and impoverished and worth nothing. Sir Thomas married Nichola, the widow of Sir Ralph Basset of Weldon.
Lincoln Cathedral was at that time the third largest in England. We might infer from this, and other circumstances yet to be revealed, that his marriage had not been happy, a theory that may be supported by internal evidence from Chaucer's own verse. John of Gaunt never stayed in Lincoln for long enough to justify the building of a residence there, and there is no reference to this house in his registers, but these are of course incomplete.
Pilgrims came flocking to make their devotions at the wondrous silver shrine of St Hugh, a masterpiece of intricate stone tracery encrusted with precious metals and gems, which reposed in the beautiful Angel Choir at the cathedral's east end; this choir had been built in the 1260sand was named after the carved angels with which it was lavishly decorated. The original manor house was the North Hall, which lay two hundred metres north of the village, and had been built in the eleventh century by the then lady of the manor, Judith of Boulogne, Countess of Northumbria and Huntingdon, a niece of William the Conqueror and the ancestress of William the Lyon.
This is the first record of an association between Katherine Swynford and Lincoln Cathedral and its close, with which she was often to be linked in the future, and the choice of two members of the Cathedral Chapter as sponsors suggests that she was already well known to, and highly regarded by, that body.
Hugh's forebears probably came from Swinford - originally Swine's Ford — in Leicestershire, but there is no record of them there in Domesday Book. She was clearly good with the young, and had, it seems, an innate sensitivity that made it possible for her to create unity from disparity - witness the successful bonding of the legitimate heirs of the House of Lancaster with Katherine's own children, her bastards by John of Gaunt, and the Chaucers, bonds that surmounted the barriers and taboos created by adultery, death, rank and illegitimacy.
But John stood alongside her and the children, each given the surname Beaufort, after one of Prince Johns French estates in Champagne. Such a placement in a royal household was generally a good thing, a way of ensuring advancement in young adulthood. This error message is only visible to WordPress admins, Medieval Women, Hodierna Mother of Alexander Neckham, Ada Lovelace 1815 – 1852 and the first computer programme, IT Livery Companies History and Dame Shirley, Hedy Lamarr Actress and Intriguing Inventor, Lady Florence Dixie journalist and feminist 1856, Caroline of Ansbach Wife of King George II, << Lady Florence Dixie journalist and feminist 1856, Caroline of Ansbach Wife of King George II >>.
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