KATHARINE HABSBURG'S LADIES' STAY IN POLAND IN THE LIGHT OF RACHUNKI POSELSTW FROM 1553 (Pobyt w Polsce dam dworu Katarzyny Habsburg, trzeciej zony Zygmunta Augusta, w swietle Rachunkow poselstw z 1553 roku)
The time between the 29th and 31st July 1553 saw the celebration of the wedding of Sigismund Augustus and Katharine Habsburg. The bride was accompanied by ladies-in-waiting, Cecilia Trautmensdorffer and mistresses Weispruch, Eincigen and Beglin, of unknown first names, who came to Poland especially for that occasion. Their stay is documented by Rachunki poselstw (Envoys' Accounts). This source is a record of daily expenses connected with the visits of foreign envoys and their entourage in Poland; it covers the period from 1538 to 1793. In connection with the stay of the above-mentioned ladies the accounts mention both the food that was bought for them and the way of serving it. The list includes for instance roast meat, meat soups with groats or peas, capon broth and roast geese stuffed with apples and pears. We can also learn what beverages were served to the ladies, starting from beer, through various wines, including muscatel and malmsey, to mead. The accounts mention spices and other imported goods, such as pepper, cinnamon, ginger, olives, capers and rice. Apart from food the ladies were provided with various utensils, including dishes, cutlery and expensive 'Venetian glasses'. The accounts also specify the remuneration for services, such as washing the linen or cooking. Some more unusual expenses are also listed, for instance payment for schoolboys who sang in an inn, for feeding the dogs brought by one of the ladies or for the treatment of a lame horse. The accounts also mention the itinerary of Cecilia Trautmensdorffer, who followed the newly-wed couple from Cracow to Knyszyn. The record of accounts documenting the ladies' stay in Poland shows that Rachunki poselstw is a valuable source which can shed new light on many aspects of the history of daily life.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.