Saturday, January 12, 2008

Renaissance Historians: Your Help Needed

Flicking through the Christmas double-bill issue of the Economist, I happened upon an article about the social history of kitchens (which is the kind of thing that passes for light-hearted Christmas entertainment in that magazine, bless its highbrow little heart).

There was some talk in the article about the fact that Henry VIII had had 55 separate kitchens at Hampton Court, including a ewery, a buttery, a victualling room, and a chaundry.

I'm now deeply intrigued as to what a 'chaundry' might have been. Does anyone know? In applying all my comparative linguistical knowledge to the word, I can only infer that it refers to meat preparation of some kind (French: chair = flesh, Italian: carne = meat), but beyond that I'm at a loss.

10 comments:

Chuffy! said...

Candles.

Is there a prize?

Occasional Poster of Comments said...

Ooh, some more info here (quite near the bottom).

[I hadn't a clue what it was (beyond, perhaps, something to do with the French for hot), but was intrigued enough to google "chaundry candles" when I saw chuffy's comment]

patroclus said...

Ah, you are both great. And thanks for that link, OPC, I am now considering investing an otter-hound to deal with the scraps in the acatry.

Chuffy: there is the prize of knowing that your historical knowledge is far superior to my linguistical guesswork. 'Meat preparation', indeed.

Albert said...

Shurley a chaundry is where one's servants wash jammy fingerprints from the margins of one's copy of the Canterbury Tales?

Where's MY prize?

Tim Footman said...

So how does somewhere you make and/or store candles count as a kitchen?

entropy said...

Well, you would be heating wax or tallow to make the candles so there would be heat and pans ... all in all quite kitchen-like. And it would smell a lot like a kitchen if they were tallow candles.

patroclus said...

Albert: Your prize is concealed inside a jammy copy of the Canterbury Tales that someone stashed in the victualling room. (Ooh, it's all gone a bit Name Of The Rose all of a sudden.)

Tim: I was wondering that, but I think Entropy is on the right track. Still, nice to know they didn't waste anything - when was the last time any of us made a candle out of leftover bacon rinds?

cello said...

I think Jo Malone would do a brisk trade with bacon-scented candles, instead of all that effete bergamot, mandarin and vanilla crap.

Tabby Rabbit said...

55? Bet he was popular with kitchen appliance salesmen of the day.

I have been to Hampton Court several times, but don't recall more than one kitchen, nor the word 'chaundry'. Perhaps someone in the Economist editorial office had been on the sherry...

patroclus said...

Cello: Essence de Lardon, I can see it now.

Tabby Rabbit: I thought that too, especially when I looked it up on Google and it only pointed me back to the Economist article. I think they'd all been on the sherry at Christmas, thus resulting in the festive 'Management Tips You Can Learn From Chairman Mao' article, and the corresponding cover pic of Mao in a Santa hat.