Monday, June 23, 2014

Chatelaines by Suzi Love

Chatelaines by Suzi Love


  • The word Chatelaine is French and means the keeper of the keys
  • Chatelaine" derives from the Latin word for castle
  • In Medieval times, the chatelaine was in charge of the day-to-day running of the castle.

What did a chatelaine do?

  • Most important task was keeper of the keys.
  • Also ordered supplies, did bookkeeping, supervised servants, taught castle children, and organized guests.

What were chatelaines used for?

  • Castle keepers needed keys safe, yet easily accessible.
  • By 1700's, a metal jeweled ornament hung from pockets, attached to belts, or by hooks into skirt waistbands
  • During 1800's, women wore large collections of tools hung from chains
  • Young girls sewed and did needlework and needed to carry sewing notions eg scissors, thimbles

  • Worn by women of all classes, from workers to nobility
  • Varied depending on class and finances.

  • Made of silver, brass, steel, leather, or fabric

  • During 19th century, fashionable dresses often had no waist and nowhere to hang chatelaines
  • Chatelaines became decorative brooches
  • Often given as a wedding present from a husband to bride
  • Later became fashion accessories

Suzi Love: I'm an Australian author of historical romances, from Regency to Victorian and from sexy to hot. 

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Regan said...

Suzi, thanks for a great post...and wonderful pictures of the "keys." I loved it!


Joanna Lloyd said...

Love all the subjects you research and share, Suzi. Great post!

Elle Fynllay said...

Loved your information, Suzi. The Historical Girls should have their own chatelaine brooches.

Alison Stuart said...

Another fab post, Ms. Love. So that is where the term "chatelaine" used to refer to the lady of the house comes from... she was the keeper of the keys

Marianne Theresa said...

Can you imagine how heavy some of these key chains/broaches would become? I think of my house/car Keys that I carry around now. There are about 7 different & essential keys I need at all times. And it is rather bulky and weighty.

Suzi Love said...

Thank you everyone for enjoying my post, and my photos.
Aren't the chatelaines fascinating? Some are truly gorgeous pieces of jewelry, though I have no idea how they swished through the castles with all that weight hanging from them.
Mind you, being the chatelaine, or key keeper, would give you lots of power to order around your minions.
I could get used to that, though not to the cold of castles.