Preview image of chatelaine pieces, wrought in iron, by High Plains Ironworks

More Kit Progress – Chatelaine, cont.

Chatelaine pieces by High Plains Ironworks: a master ring, a food pricker, a spoon, and a corn ring.

Otoshi over at High Plains Ironworks finished my chatelaine pieces and I just got them in the mail — huzzah!

So, in my earlier post, I’d mentioned in a footnote that I wanted to look through collections of Anglo-Saxon wills and see if anyone left anything that seemed like it could be a chatelaine to someone else. I looked at Diplomatarium Anglicum Aevi Saxonici (so far) and wasn’t able to find anything1 (I would like to check out the Codex Diplomaticus Aevi Saxonici (vol. 3), but it’s $57 and appears to contain transliterations but no translations, so that will probably have to wait). However, I’d like to note a couple of points:

  • Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence
  • These are the wills of nobles and otherwise rich people, who may not have had the need to carry around tools on their belts (I imagine that their servants would have brought them the necessary implements when they needed them).
  • I’m looking at second-hand work — transcriptions and translations of the originals. So there’s always the possibility that something was transcribed or translated incorrectly (though I’m inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to these scholars).

Naturally, I’m going to keep scrounging around for info, but the primary reason for this post was to show that picture of Otoshi’s work, with which I’m absolutely delighted. He tells me that this was his first attempt to make chatelaine pieces and I think they came out fantastically — they really look like something Saewynn would be carrying around, and are delightfully imperfect…which in fact makes them perfect. Furthermore, it was a real treat to work with him (via Facebook messenger), trading sketches, photos, reference, and ideas. He nailed it. If you’ve got an early Anglo-Saxon persona and want to commission some chatelaine pieces, I can’t recommend High Plains Ironworks enough. I’m currently working on making cord (using a lucet) so that I can put it all together.

From Daegrad Tools: a Roman-style pair of wooden frames  filled with beeswax to serve as a writing tablet, laced together to form a book.  Also shown is an iron stylus.

Ooo, I should also mention that I purchased a Roman-style wax tablet/book and stylus from Daegrad Tools in the UK. Without even asking for it to be so, Dennis at Daegrad sent me a stylus with a twisted shaft. Huzzah, everything matches! How’s that for a delightful coincidence?

1 While I wasn’t able to find anything about chatelaines or chatelaine parts (like girdle hangars), I did find an intriguing reference to a bulla, which in Roman times was a kind of amulet presented to children: on page 548, the will of one Wulfric (1002 CE), the (translated) text reads, “And I give to my goddaughter, [the daughter] of Morcare and Ealdgyth, the land at Stretton, and the ‘bulla’ that was her grandmother’s.”

Whether or not Wulfric’s goddaughter’s grandmother had a bulla in the Roman sense (which would have been doubly interesting, because according to the Wiki article link above, bullae were for boys, whereas girls got lunulās, and the text says “Þone bule đe wæs hire ealdermoder”), it’s still interesting to find a mention of this kind of pendant still being in use (noting, of course, that I am completely assuming that this is what it was, and I may very well be wrong). I’m doing a bit of assumptionary math (I know, I know) and saying that his goddaughter’s grandmother had her bulla in the first part of the 10th Century, which is roughly contemporary for my persona. I guess I’ll be adding a bulla to my kit! [ return ]

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