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Catherine Grandison, Countess of Salisbury

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Catherine Grandison, Countess of Salisbury (c. 1304 – 23 November 1349) was an English noblewoman, remembered for her relationship with King Edward III of England and possibly the woman in whose honour the Order of the Garter was originated.[1] She was the daughter of William de Grandison, 1st Baron Grandison, and Sibylla de Tregoz. Her mother was one of two daughters of John de Tregoz, Baron Tregoz (whose arms were blazoned Gules two bars gemels in chief a lion passant guardant or),[2] maternal granddaughter of Fulk IV, Baron FitzWarin).[citation needed] Catherine married William Montacute, 1st Earl of Salisbury in about 1320.

Their children were:

According to Jean Le Bel, King Edward III raped Catherine in 1341, according to the True Chronicles of Jean le Bel he "left her there unconscious, bleeding from her nose, mouth, and elsewhere",[3] after having relieved a Scottish siege on Wark Castle, where she lived, while her husband was out of the country. An Elizabethan play, Edward III, deals with this incident. In the play, the Earl of Warwick is the unnamed countess's father.

In around 1348, the Order of the Garter was founded by Edward III and it is recorded by Jean Froissart[4] that he did so after an incident at a ball when the "Countess of Salisbury" dropped a garter and the king picked it up. It is assumed that Froissart is referring either to Catherine or to her daughter-in-law, Joan of Kent.

In 1836 Alexandre Dumas's first serialised novel The Countess of Salisbury was based on her life.


  1. ^ Fisher, Deborah (2005). Princesses of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-7083-1936-9.
  2. ^ Burke, John (1831). A general and heraldic dictionary of the peerages of England, Ireland, and Scotland, extinct, dormant, and in abeyance. England. H. Colburn & R. Bentley. pp. 521–.
  3. ^ le Bel, Jean (2011). The True Chronicles of Jean le Bel. The Boydell Press. pp. 155–6.
  4. ^ Jean Froissart, Chronicles