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Click on the links below to see past brasses  of the month:

    February 2003     Nicholas Gaynesford, 1498, Carshalton, Surrey

    March 2003         George Rede, c. 1492, Fovant, Wiltshire

    April 2003           Thomas Stathum, 1470, Morley, Derbyshire  

    May 2003            Richard Torryngton, c.1380-90, Gt. Berkhamsted, Herts                              

    June 2003            Adam Ertham, 1382, Arundel, Sussex

    July 2003             John Lawe, c.1480, Derby Cathedral, Derbyshire

    August 2003        William Frith, 1386, & John Bradwell, Shottesbrook, Berks 

    September 2003  Sir Richard Fitzlewes, 1528, Ingrave, Essex

    October 2003      Joan, Lady Cromwell, 1479, Tattershall, Lincolnshire 

    November 2003   John Gyger, 1504, Tattershall, Lincolnshire

    December 2003    Richard Disney, d. 1578, Norton Disney, Lincolnshire 

    January 2004       Joan de Cobham, c. 1305-10, Cobham, Kent

    February 2004      Henry Notingham, c. 1405, Holme-next-the-Sea, Norfolk

    March 2004          John Wybarne, 1505,  Ticehurst, Sussex

    April 2004            William Bradschawe, 1537, Wendover, Buckinghamshire

    May 2004             Thomas Tompkins, 1629, Llandinabo, Herefordshire

    June 2004             William de Wermington, c. 1330, Crowland, Lincolnshire

    July 2004              Lucasz de Gorka, 1475, Poznan, Poland

    August 2004         Unknown knight, c. 1475, Society of Antiquaries, London

    September 2004    Sir Andrew de Herley, 1382, Allensmore, Herefordshire

    October 2004        Nicholas Fraunceis, 1526, Combe Florey, Somerset

    November 2004    Prior Thomas Nelond, 1432,Cowfold, Sussex

    December 2004     Unknown, c. 1500, Cobham, Surrey

    January 2005         John Hardman, 1867, St. Mary's Convent, Handsworth

    February 2005       Sir John Say, 1473, Broxbourne, Herts

    March 2005           Sir Hugh Hastings, 1347, Elsing, Norfolk

    April 2005              Sir John Clerk, 1539, Thame, Oxfordshire.

    May 2005              Olivier de la Chapelle, 1508, La Chapelle-Rainsouin

    June 2005               Katherine Franckleyn, 1552, Sturry, Kent

    July 2005                Sir Edward Warner, 1565, Little Plumstead, Norfolk

    August 2005            Thomas Tonge, 1472, Beeford, Yorkshire

    September 2005       William Wadham, 1411, llminster, Somerset

    October 2005           Margaret Chute (d. 1614),  Marden, Herefordshire

    November 2005        John Strete (d. 1406), Upper Hardres, Kent

    December 2005        Edward Grymston, 1478, Thorndon, Suffolk

    January 2006            Elizabeth Tempest, 1845, Skipton, Yorkshire

    February 2006          Sir Thomas Brudenell, 1586, Deene, Northamptonshire

    March 2006              Thomas King, 1523, Rendham, Suffolk

    April 2006                Brother Robert Beauner, c. 1450-60, St Alban's Cathedral, Hertfordshire

    May 2006                Lady Anne Danvers, 1539, Dauntsey, Wiltshire

    June 2006                Thomas, Lord Berkeley, 1392, Wotton-under-edge, Gloucestershire

    July 2006                 John Eldred, 1632, Great Saxham,Suffolk

    August 2006            Dame Agnes Jordan, 1546, Denham, Buckinghamshire

    September 2006      King Eric Menved and Queen Ingeborg, 1319, Ringsted, Denmark

    October 2006          Margaret Lambart (d.1608), Pinchbeck, Lincolnshire

    November 2006      Archbishop Samuel Harsnett, 1631, Chigwell, Essex   

    December 2006       John Samwell and wife, c. 1505, Cottisford, Oxfordshire

    January 2007            Hugues des Hazards, (1517) bishop of Toul, Blénod-lès-Toul

    February 2007         Valentine Edvarod, 1574, St Nicholas at Wade, Kent

    March 2007             Edmund Hunt, 1558, Hindolveston, Norfolk

    April 2007               Sir Peter Rede, 1568, St Peter, Norwich,  Norfolk

    May 2007               Sir Adam de Clyfton, Methwold, 1367, Norfolk

    June 2007                George Talbot, Fourth Earl of Shrewsbury, 1538, Sheffield, Yorkshire

    July 2007                 Walter Curson, 1527, and Isabel, his wife, Waterperry, Oxfordshire

    August 2007             John Byrkhede, d. 1468, Harrow-on-the-Hill, Middlesex

    September 2007       Lost brass of a lady, c.1415, Castleacre, Norfolk

    October 2007           Christopher Daubeney, 1587, Sharrington, Norfolk

    November 2007        Edward Naylor, 1632, Bigby, Lincolnshire

    December 2007        William Armorer, 1560, All Hallows-by-the-Tower, London

    January 2008             A Lady, probably Agnes de Bradeston, c1370, Winterbourne, Gloucestershire

    February 2008           John Strensall, 1408, Boston, Lincolshire

    March 2008              Ann Fitch, 1593, Little Canfield, Essex

    April 2008                 Jeha(n) Buccilier and his wife, Police, 1494, Toul, France
    May 2008                 William de Grey [1495] and his wives Mary and Grace, Merton, Norfolk
    June 2008                  John Stonor, 1512, Wraysbury, Buckinghamshire
    July 2008                  Thomas Cod, 1465, St Margaret at Antioch, Rochester, Kent
    August 2008              John Bartelot, d. 1428/9, and wife Joan de Stopham, Stopham, Sussex

    September 2008         Edmund Clere, d. 1488, and wife Elizabeth, Stokesby, Norfolk

    October 2008            Reginald Spycer, 1442, and wives, Cirencester, Gloucestershire

    November 2008         Ann Tyrell, 1638, Stowmarket, Suffolk

    December 2008          Margaret Bacon, 1626/7, Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire

    January 2009              Unknown civilian, c 1520, Godmanchester, Huntingdonshire

    February 2009            John Alnwyk, 1460, Surlingham, Norfolk

    March 2009               Lady Sydney Wynne, Llanrwst, Denbighshire

    April 2009                 Gotthard and Margaretha von Höveln, 1571, Marienkirche, Lübeck

    May 2009                 Dorothie Brewster, 1613, Willingale Doe, Essex

    June 2009                 Sir John de Wyngefeld, 1389, Letheringham, Suffolk

    July 2009                  Gabriel Pluyette, 1634, Roissy-en-France, Val d'Oise, France

    August 2009              Incised slabs to lepers, Dijon, France

    September 2009        Lost Brass: Ralph de Hengham, St Paul’s Cathedral, London

    October 2009           Reginald de Assche, Ash-next-Wrotham, c. 1380

    November 2009        John Repps, 1561, & wives Margaret & Thomasene, West Walton, Norfolk

    December 2009        Francis Saunders, 1585, & wives Elizabeth, Eleanor and Frances, Welford, Northamptonshire

    January 2010            Inscription on font to Sir Ralph Pudsay, his third wife Edwina & his son William, Bolton-by-Bowland, Yorkshire

    February 2010          John Kyngeston, 1514, and wife Susan, Childrey, Berkshire

    March 2010             Anne Bedingfield, 1641, Darsham, Suffolk

    April 2010                Ambroise de Villiers, 1503, formerly in the abbey of Notre-Dame-du-Val, Seine et Oise, France

    May 2010                Christopher Playters, 1547 (C17 engraving), Sotterley, Suffolk

    June 2010                Nicholas Toke, 1680, and his three daughters, Great Chart, Kent

    July 2010                 Duchess Zedena, 1510, Meissen cathedral, Saxony, Germany

   August 2010             Anne Butts, 1609, Redgrave, Suffolk

  September 2010        Thomas Shernborne, 1458/9, and wife Jamon, Shernborne, Norfolk

   October 2010           Margery or Anne Clopton, 1420, Long Melford, Suffolk

  November 2010         Dirick Lode, 1507, St John’s church, Cēsis, Latvia

  December 2010          William & Margaret Stapilton, c. 1440, Helhoughton, Norfolk

    January 2011            Brass lease, 1568, St Mary’s Hall, Coventry

   February 2011          Agnes & Jane Hopper, 1625, St Cross, Oxford

   March 2011            Ralph Blenerhaysett, 1475, Frenze, Norfolk

     April 2011              Arthur Dericote, 1562, and four wives,  Mary, Emma, Margaret and Joan, Hackney, Middlesex

      May 2011             Geoffrey Boleyn, 1440, and wife Alice, Salle, Norfolk

      June 2011              Bishop Johann II von Schleinitz, Zeitz, Germany

      July 2011               Catherine Verney, 1657, Compton Verney, Warwickshire

    August 2011            Thomas Cawarden, 1592/3, and wife, Mavesyn Ridware, Staffordshire

  September 2011        Joost van Amstel van Mijnden, 1554, Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht, Netherlands

   October 2011           Susanna Gartside, 1668, Rochdale, Lancashire

  November 2011        Sir William Burgate, 1409, Burgate, Suffolk

   December 2011        Stillborn son of Elector Johann Georg I, 1608, Freiberg Cathedral, Germany

     January 2012          Thomas Tyard, 1505/6, & Philip Tenison, 1660/1, Bawburgh, Norfolk

    February 2012         Thomas and Elizabeth Drake, c. 1520, Forncett St Peter, Norfolk

      March 2012           John Browne, 1581, and wife, Halesworth, Suffolk

       April 2012            Johan von Heringen, 1505, Erfurt Cathedral, Germany

       May 2012             Richard & Joan Foxwist, 1500, Llanbeblig, Wales

       June 2012             Member of the Bacon family, Gorleston, Suffolk, early fourteenth century

       July 2012              Anne Bulwer, 1604/5, Guestwick, Norfolk

     August 2012           William Styrlay, 1536, Rauceby, Lincolnshire

  September 2012        Katherine Howard, 1465, engraved c. 1535, Stoke by Nayland, Suffolk

    October 2012          Zacharias Ridt, 1586, Poznań, Poland

  November 2012        Alice Laurence, 1531, and husbands, Middleton, Lancashire

  December 2012         Sir Andrew Luttrell, 1390, Irnham, Lincolnshire

    January 2013           Martha Lister, 1663, Sheffield Cathedral, Yorkshire

   February 2013         Thomas Bokenham, 1460, St Stephen's, Norwich

    March 2013            Thomas Kinnersley, c. 1530, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire

      April 2013             Canon Johannes (Jan) Craghe, 1524, Sint-Maartenskerk, Sint Maartensdijk (Zeeland, Netherlands)

       May 2013             Indent of Sir Thomas Felton, KG, 1381, and his son Thomas, East Barsham, Norfolk

       June 2013             Robert Hallum, Bishop of Salisbury, 1416, Konstanz Cathedral (Baden-Württemberg)

       July 2013              Henry Hobart, 1561, Loddon, Norfolk

     August 2013           Lydia Gore, 1654/5, Alderton, Wiltshire

  September 2013       Maud Harcourt and two husbands, Walter Cookesey and Sir John Phelip, 1415, Kidderminster , Worcestershire

   October 2013         George, son of Roger Townsend, c. 1505, East Raynham, Norfolk

  November 2013       Elizabeth Whipple, 1617, Dickleburgh, Norfolk

  December 2013        Bishop Heinrich von Spiegel, 1380, Paderborn Dom, Germany

    January 2014          Anthony Hansart and wife Katherine, 1507, March , Cambridgeshire

   February 2014         Robert Bumpsted, 1479, Sotterley, Suffolk

     March 2014           Iven Reventlow, 1569, St. Hippolyt’s Church, Lebrade,  Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

      April 2014            Sir Robert de Tye, 1415, Barsham, Suffolk

       May 2014            Henry Stanley, 1528, Hillingdon, Middlesex

      June 2014             Lucas Goodyere, 1547, Aldenham, Hertfordshire

       July 2014             Adriaen Cornelis Clayssenzoon, 1524, Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk, Kapelle (Zeeland, Netherlands)

     August 2014           Sir William Calthorpe, 1420, Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk

  September 2014        Sir William Fitz-william, 1534, Marholm, Northamptonshire

   October 2014          William, 1523, & Alice Brugge, Longdon, Worcestershireshire

  November 2014       Roger, 1542/3, & Mary Gifford, Middle Claydon,  Buckinghamshire

   December 2014       Hermann Schomaker, 1406, Bardowick, Germany

     January 2015         Richard Coton, 1556, & wife Margaret, 1560, engraved later, Whittington, Gloucestershire

    February 2015        Simon Boleyn, 1482, Salle, Norfolk

      March 2015          John, 1493, & Elizabeth Sothill, Stockerston, Leicestershire

       April 2015           Edward and Margaret Gage, 1595, Framfield, Sussex

        May 2015          William de Audley, 1365, Horseheath, Cambridgeshire

        June 2015          Walter Dotyn, 1603/4, Oxford, St Michael

        July 2015           Benet ___, died 1519, and his wife, Aldeburgh, Suffolk

      August 2015        Thomas Capp, 1545/6, Norwich, St Stephen

   September 2015     Adam von Herzenradt, 1483, Brauweiler, Germany

    October 2015        Humbert de Chissé, 1458, Geneva, Switzerland

  November 2015       Benedykt z Koźmina, 1559, Dominican Church, Kraków, Poland

  December 2015       Anna, Princess of Denmark & Electress of Saxony, 1585, St Mary’s Cathedral, Freiberg, Saxony, Germany

    January 2016         Gijsbert Willemszoen, 1511, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

   February 2016        Talbot family, 1821, Wymondham, Norfolk

     March 2016          Mathew Rudd, 1615, Chelmsford, Essex

       April 2016           Barbara Antoni, 1510, Isenhagen, Germany

        May 2016          John Hynkley, 1432, and wife Margaret, 1442, engraved after 1454, Great Thurlow, Suffolk

        June 2016          Indent, unknown priest, Seton Collegiate Church, East Lothian, Scotland

        July 2016           Margaret de Buslingthorpe, 1369, Bothamsall, Nottinghamshire

      August 2016        Ralph Fuloflove, 1479, West Harling, Norfolk

  September 2016      Michael Hare, 1611, and two wives, Bruisyard, Suffolk

    October 2016        Man in armout, c.1410, Holbeach Lincolnshire

  November 2016      Thomas Holte, 1545 & wife, Aston, Warwickshire

  December 2016       Richard Gereys & wife Jane, 1574, Constantine, Cornwall

     January 2017         John Beton, 1570, Edensor, Derbyshire

    February 2017       William and Elizabeth Berdwell [1490], West Harling, Norfolk

      March 2017         Duchess Katharina of Saxony, 1561, Freiberg Cathedral, Germany

Copyright © 2017 Monumental Brass Society (MBS)

Page last updated 08 March 2017


Brass of the Month

 This month’s brass commemorates Duchess Katharina of Saxony, born Duchess of Mecklenburg in 1487, who died on 6th June 1561 in Torgau (HKC2). She became Duchess of Saxony by virtue of her marriage to Duke Heinrich der Fromme (Henry the Pious) in 1512. She was the mother-in-law to Anna Princess of Denmark and Electress of Saxony by virtue of her marriage to her son Elector August. Anna’s brass featured in Brass of the Month for December 2015.

The brass lies on the floor of the choir of Freiberg Cathedral in what is the ducal mausoleum of the Albertine line of the Wettin dynasty, at its eastern end adjacent to the north wall and in the opposite corner to her husband’s brass. It comprises two conjoined plates of equal size with overall dimensions of 2.54 m. x 1.44m. It is a product of the Hilliger workshop when this was still based in Freiberg before elocating to Dresden, and is specifically the work of Wolf Hilliger the Elder (1511-1576). Wolf ‘s work included at least 8 brasses in the Cathedral and possible as many as 13, all of them brasses to infants, apart from that commemorating Duchess Sidonia, one of Katharina’s daughters, who married Erich II, Duke of Braunschweig-Kalenberg.

 Unlike the brass to Anna this one does not have a date of engraving on it, nor the Hilliger workshop insignia HR, and with no indication of the artist responsible for it. By contrast it is known that her husband’s brass is a direct copy of a portrait by Lucas Cranach the Elder in 1537, and is the best known brass emanating from the Hilliger atelier. Both Cranachs and Zacharias Wehme were court painters to the Albertines but none of their recognised portraits of Katharina seems to have influenced the design of the brass. Yet it clearly has considerable artistic input although it is not a portrait.

 The composition is typically Hilliger, with the central figure of Katharina standing within a recessed arch and turning to her right. She is dressed in widow’s weeds Saxony- style with her hair contained within a bonnet and a wimple covering chin and mouth with trailing double scarf- like ends extending over the front of her mantle almost down to the ground. The mantle is worn like a cloak with a high neck collar, open at the front with a tightly pleated skirt beneath, an undergarment’s cuffs just showing at the wrists. There are two winged Putti at her feet. The ornate border incorporates 8 shields interspersed with foliage and various birds. The arms of Saxony are prominently displayed in the border above her head, flanked by two amphibious creatures with human upper bodies.

 The rest of the shields comprise;

1. Top. Dexter - Rostock; Sinister - Mecklenburg

2. Bottom. Central - Eagle of Thuringen; Dexter- Stargard; Sinister -     Werle (Bull with a nose ring).

3. Dexter Side Central - Thuringen.

4. Sinister Side Central - Meissen.

The inscription beneath the figure comprises 7 lines of raised lettering with a background of Niello, the lettering in Renaissance Capitalis. It reads;



This translates as;

“In the year 1561 on the 6th June the most noble / and highborn princess and lady, Lady Katharina / by birth Duchess of Mecklenburg, Duchess of Sax / ony, Landgravine of Thuringen, Margravine of Meissen, / spouse of Duke Henry of Saxony of praised / and worshipful memory, deceased peacefully in the Lord / on whose soul God may grant his mercy, and lies here buried”

 There is a lifesize bronze statue of Katharina above the brass on the north wall of the choir, one of five sculpted by Carlo Di Cesare.

Katharina was the daughter of Duke Magnus 11 of Mecklenburg and Sofie of Pommern–Stettin. She married Heinrich der Fromme on 6th July 1512 in Freiberg. Her brother in law was Duke Georg der Bärtige (George the Bearded) d.1539 who was a devout Catholic. Georg was trained in theology and was a highly educated man compared with other princes of his day, and Heinrich was fearful of him. During

Georg’s lifetime, Katharina and Heinrich lived in Freudenstein castle1 in Freiberg and were in receipt of an annuity from him which also included the districts of Freiberg and Wolkenstein. Her nephew with whom she had a close relationship was Johann Friedrich Elector of Saxony d. 1554.

The couple had 6 children with 3 sons one of whom, Severinus, died young, Elector Moritz d. 1553 and Elector August d. 1586. The 3 daughters included Sibylla who married Franz 1 Duke of Saxony- Lauenberg d. 1581, Aemilia who married Margrave Georg of Brandenburg- Ansbach d. 1543, and Sidonia referred to in paragraph 2 above.

Katharina was the architect behind the introduction of Protestantism in Albertine Saxony. She was politically astute, strong willed and a considerable influence on her relatively weak husband. He was gradually but inevitably ushered towards Protestantism in spite of his dominant brother Georg’s Catholicism. Katharina had advised her nephew Johann Friedrich in 1525 of her beliefs and from thereon she

espoused Lutheranism. Up until 1536 Heinrich had supressed the Reformation for fear of his brother, but after a period of continuing pressure on him, Katharina managed to persuade her husband to hear Luther preach in Wittenberg and Torgau. As a result Heinrich allowed Protestant services in his churches. Katharina appointed Jakob Schenk as a suitable preacher through her nephew Johann Friedrich, and with Luther’s approval. Initially Schenk preached in the castle chapel only, although the public were admitted there. On New Year’s Day 1537 Schenk was allowed to dispense the Eucharist in the Lutheran manner. Mindful of Georg’s fierce opposition to this development, she persuaded her husband to seek admission to the Schmalkaldischen Bund – the federation of Protestant princes. A visitation was requested from Johann Freidrich, whose visitators included the Mayor of Freiberg. The date for the inauguration of the Reformation in Freiberg was set for 27th May 1537, and the visitation enforced by the ducal house in the face of the conservative Freiberg clergy

 Georg’s reaction was to disregard his father’s will and seek to disinherit Heinrich and bequeath the Duchy of Saxony to Ferdinand, brother of Charles V. This was all to no avail since Georg died in 1539. Heinrich and Katharina eventually moved out of Freudenstein castle to Dresden.

Schenk fell out with Luther because of his aggressive personality and his adverse impact on the success of the Reformation in Freiberg, and was removed from his post and sent to Weimar as ducal court preacher under Luther’s supervision. Order was consequently restored in Freiberg. Protestantism was rolled out across all of Albertine Saxony in Leipzig during Whitsun 1539. Luther encouraged Katharina to appoint more clergy and step up the visitations across the duchy.

Heinrich died in 1541 with Katharina outliving him by 20 years. She travelled extensively, and also acted as peacemaker when trouble broke out in her children’s families. This was notable during the breakdown of Sidonia’s marriage to Erich II of Braunschweig- Kalenberg. There were religious differences with Sidonia a Lutheran, Erich a Catholic, the marriage was childless, and there were financial problems with the wealth coming from Sidonia’s side of the marriage. Erich took a mistress and Sidonia lived almost under house arrest. In an attempt to be rid of her Erich had Sidonia placed on trial for witchcraft based on trumped up charges with evidence  obtained from other so–called witches under torture. There was also a claim,

following his illness, that she was trying to poison him. She was eventually acquitted in 1574,following a trial at Halberstadt presided over by Duke Julius of Braunschweig–Wolfenbüttel and Duke Wilhelm of Braunschweig–Lüneburg.

When Katharina died in 1561 she left a large library of Reformatory writing. Shortly before her death in 1560 she also published a book on etiquette for ladies.

 © Kevin Herring. Article & Photos

March 2017 -   Duchess Katharina of Saxony, 1561, Freiberg Cathedral, Germany