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Castle Inventory

An inventory entitled “A brief inventory of the Lord’s Household…Castell  the charge of Johne Deckenson and Wm. Kettelicke the wardroppe men & others, sene & vewed 18th of June 1582. The list is quite detailed, and there are occasional additions which bring it more to life.

The first part is a list of wall hangings, one of which consists of five pieces and was brought from London. Another, similar, one  is noted as having been sent to Wingfield, (another of the Earl of Shrewsbury’s manors), ‘to Peter Tampeter for to be mendyd’. And yet another is listed as ‘one old hanging of leaves, past service’.

There are long detailed lists of soft furnishings, including two long cushions of black velvet bottomed with black Bruges satin, ‘whereof one is unfilled’. There is also a cushion of blue velvet and blue Bruges satin with a lion, embroidered with studs, and one square cushion of needlework, silk, with a pelican, bottomed with green Bruges satin, with a fringe of blue and yellow silk.

Then comes a long list of furniture, among which is ‘a great chair of wood for my Lord to sytt in on St.George’s Day’, (the Lord, George Earl of Shrewsbury’s Saint’s day).

There’s also ‘a fair square chest inlaid with white bone, made by my Lord Fraunces, with a talbott and SS, standing in the nursery at the Lodge.’ Then there’s the disapproving sounding comment, ‘It is almost spoyled through evyll usinge’! (The talbott was a large hunting dog, and the family symbol of the Earls of Shrewsbury, Talbot being their family name)

Although the spellings are often strange to modern eyes, they are easily deciphered. However,  having covered the Lord’s apartments, we come to the ‘support services’, and things become rather more obscure. Some I’ve been able to identify, for example I now know that a brandreth was a tripod for placing over a fire to hold a cooking pot, and a broyche was probably a skewer for roasting on a spit, but if anyone knows what utensils a bynge, a brecke or a kytte were I’d love to hear!

And what were cobyrons? All I know is that the two mentioned in the will of one Peter Knaresbroughe in 1564 came with dripping pans! And at the Lodge there was a mattock and a pair of garden shears ‘which Leaver hath had’. Presumably Leaver was the gardener? Although the list finishes with the statement,

“All ye kytchen stuff in the Quenes (Mary Queen of Scots) kytchen and my Lords is yett to wryte. And all the husbandrye geare, as waynes and other necessaries for the draughts, at ye Castle  is yet to wryte. .. or the towles that the sadler hath, is to wryte. And also the gardyeners toules yet to wryte.”  So perhaps Leaver up at the Lodge had just borrowed the shears and not returned them? Plus ça change…!

Peter Machan


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