Sunday, November 09, 2014

Question from Marilyn R - Duties and statue of a chamberer

During her interrogation regarding Katherine Howard's past, Mary Lassels thought that 'Margery, my ladys chamberer,can tell much.'

What were the duties and status of a chamberer?

Thank you.


Foose said...

Alison Sim's Masters and Servants in Tudor England describes a royal chamberer's duties thus:

"Chamberers were untitled women who were responsible for the practical running of the royal apartments, taking charge of the queen's linen (bed linen rather than underwear), water bowls, locks and keys and other domestic items."

In ordinary aristocratic households, chamberers can come from a fairly humble background. In the queen's household, they seem to be appointed from gentry families - but that's just from a casual review of records; for example, Queen Mary Tudor in her coronation procession has her chamberers attired in crimson velvet, which tends to argue a relatively high status (not to mention their names: Mistresses Dormer, Bacon, Bassett, etc.)

In your example, Mary Lascelles/Lassels cites "Margery, my lady's chamberer." Margery was apparently chamberer to the old Duchess of Norfolk, Katherine's step-grandmother. Mary Lascelles/Lassels is listed as Katherine's own chamberer - and hence would know what Margery would have had knowledge of (i.e., the state of the girl's bed linen).

Marilyn R said...


Thank you so much. I must read this book. Thank you for taking the time to answer my query so fully.