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Catherine Gower

History, Nottingham Trent University

Thesis title:

�Nay, they will be kin to us, or they will fetch it from Japheth�: The production, dissemination and use of royal genealogical chronicles in the first reign of Henry VI (1422-61)

The focus of this project centres on the biblical-royal genealogical chronicle genre during the first reign of Henry VI (1422-61), identifying where historical narratives vary between models. Genealogical chronicles provide a useful case study for late medieval historical thought, as well as for wider perceptions of kingship and succession, depicting national history, both visually and verbally, as a constant succession of kings. The biblical-royal genealogical chronicle was an innovative adaption of existing genealogical chronicle models, depicting the king’s descent from Adam or Noah, and it first appeared in England in the early fifteenth century. These works were often ‘mass-produced’ and have traditionally been considered as evidence of dynastic propaganda, intrinsically tied to the Wars of the Roses. Dynastic uncertainty may have influenced the production of the form in the 1450s and 1460s when a Lancastrian–Yorkist divide was more clearly delineated, but it does not fully explain the initial boom in production of these chronicles in the 1430s and 1440s. The key aim of this project is to determine how the form developed under Henry VI, comparing and analysing manuscripts to identify variations in narrative and in design.

Research Area

  • History


  • 2019 – 'When in England: Giovanni Frescobaldi and the Italian community of late medieval England'. NTU Postgraduate Conference.

  • 2021 – '1399 and all that: The Deposition of Richard II in Lancastrian Genealogical Chronicles'. Presented at 'Hidden Histories': 2021 NTU Postgraduate Conference, 17 February 2021.

  • 2021 – 'Transgender and the Case of John Rykener'. Presented at the CSRC LGBTQ History Month Roundtable, 28 February 2021.

  • 2021 - 'What it means to be king: Genealogical chronicles under Henry VI (1422-61)'. Presented at UON Postgraduate History Seminar, 24 November 2021.

  • 2021 - 'The Canterbury Roll in its historical context: the Noah and Adam manuscript traditions'. Presented at the NTU UN75+1 Conference, 2 December 2021.

  • 2022 - 'What it means to be king: Genealogical chronicles under Henry VI (1422-61)'. Presented at Leeds IMC, 6 July 2022.

  • 2022 – 'Branching off: The Canterbury Roll and the Noah genealogical chronicle tradition'. Presented at University of Canterbury, Christchurch, 30 March 2022.

  • 2023 - ‘Branching out: royal genealogical chronicles under Henry VI (1422-61)’. To be presented at IHR Late Medieval Seminar, 13 January 2023.

Other Research Interests

  • Fifteenth-century England
  • Fifteenth-century Italy
  • The Wars of the Roses
  • Latin Palaeography
  • The Italian community of medieval England
  • Merchant literacy
  • Medieval narratives
  • Digital humanities


March 2021–Ongoing: Creative Content Lead, Midlands Historical Review

March 2021–Ongoing: Assistant Editor, Midlands Historical Review

September 2021–June 2022: SAF Representative (Nottingham Trent University), Midlands4Cities