25 August, 2017

Sleeping Arrangements

As I wrote recently, Edward II had six chamber vadletz/portours who slept inside his bedchamber, perhaps not every night (I assume they left when he wanted to be intimate with someone?), but often.

In January 1325, the six were: Will Shene, Henry Lawe, Roger aka 'Hogge' May, Walter aka 'Watte' Pramtout, John Petman and John Goez or Goetz or Gos.

In July 1326, they were almost the same: Will Shene, Henry Lawe, Roger May, Walter Pramtout, Henry Hustret and John Joctyman.

Will Shene married his wife Isode at Henley-on-Thames, where he came from, on 17 October 1325; Roger May's wife was called Anneis or Anneys, i.e. Agnes, sometimes nicknamed Annote, who also joined the king's chamber as a vadlet and sometimes stitched shirts for Edward; Henry Lawe's brother Syme was also a valet of the chamber, and their sister Alis Coleman brewed ale for the king; Henry Hustret's father Richard or Hick was also a valet of the chamber.

Edward rewarded the six men with a gift of cash in the summer of 1326 because they woke up at night whenever he himself woke. In January 1325, they were named as the men veillauntz e trauaillauntz oue le Roi. Veiller can mean staying awake, or staying up late, or working late and being diligent, so this means 'staying up late and working with the king'. As the men were lowborn and of low rank, I assume they didn't speak French, and that Edward communicated with them in English.

Here's the bit about 'working with the king', in all its glory. I love Edward's chamber accounts. Just wished more of them survived...

1 comment:

sami parkkonen said...

When I was doing research for my novel of R Hood I tried in earnest to imagine the household and how did it look when on the move. All together there were hundreds of persons, if I am not entirely wrong Edward had around thousand or almost that number in the whole entourage and Isabella few hundred. There were dozens of guys just to take care of the horses alone. No wonder many barons and others tried to avoid a visit from the king and/or queen.

For one thing, if and when the king showed up at your manor, you were out. King or queen or the royal couple took over your bed chamber and best parts of your castle, the kitchen etc. and you had to find another place to sleep in.

As for why king needed so many valets in his chambers; one thing is that all the castles were pitch black during the night, so if the king wanted to go out from the chamber he had to get ready fast, the candles and lanterns had to be lighted up at once etc. Also these valets escorted him trough the dark hallways and stairways etc. Naturally there were the armed bodyguards too but these were the guys first in the line if and when a royal woke up for what ever reason at what ever time.

I would love to see a movie or tv-series about a royal household set in medieval times. To make it long enough for a series it could be set up during the reign of Edward III. Just for the longevity itself. Like a Downtownn abbey but set in that frame. That would be great!