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- Delft in Holland
Delft's Stadhuis had a large entrance hall, called the citizens' hall (C - Burgerzaal). On a raised area was the Vierschaar (D) where on Wednesdays and Saturdays the magistrates sat to announce their decisions. The diagram on the right came from A. de Groot's article "Het Stadhuis" and was used by Kees Kaldenbach for the same purpose. See Related pages below.
On either side were the rooms where citizens were most likely to have business. The orphans' chamber (E - Weescamer) was on the left. The treasurer's office (K) was on the right.
Down a short hall on either side, the Stadhuis had two large meeting rooms, on the left for the mayors (H - Burgemeesterencamer) and on the right for the magistrates (O - Schepenencamer). Three of these rooms had a well-paid official appointed as bewaarder. The treasurer's records group them together, the camerbewaarders for the
- Weescamer (orphans)
- Burgemeesterencamer (mayors)
- Schepenencamer (magistrates)
What was a camerbewaarder?
The job title does not have a clear translation, nor are the duties well understood. Other cities in the Republic had officials with the same title, but each city was protective of its own traditional way of doing things, so the other camerbewaarders are not a sure guide to Delft's.
On this web, the Dutch word camerbewaarder remains untranslated.
Given the relative size of the salaries, the camerbewaarders were better paid than the messengers (boden); about half a dozen of the messengers had their own room (G on the floor plan above) between the orphans' chamber and the mayors' chamber. The camerbewaarders were about as well paid as many city attorneys (advocaten), city physicians, and even the city's anatomist. They were not as well paid as the city's leading officials, the pensionary and secretary, who had their offices (N) on the right side between the Treasurer's room and the magistrate's room.
The job titles indicate that the regents running the city had three types of assistants: clerks, messengers, and camerbewaarders. The clerks kept the written records. The messengers moved information and documents between the citizens and the city officials. The three camerbewaarders, then, may have done whatever else needed to be done to help the mayors and magistrates do their important work.
Camerbewaarders' oath of office
Because the camerbewaarders held position of trust -- keys, money, information -- they took an oath when they assumed office.
Dat Sweere ik Kamerbewaarder van de Schepenen en Raadkamer to weesen, de Sleutelen van de selve Camer, wel, en de getrouwelijcken te bewarem, ende die niet te openen, dan ter Ordonnantie van mijnen Heeren, ende gelijk men gewoonelijk is te doen, dat ik 't gunt ik in de Camer van mijnen Heeren sal koomen te hooven Secreet sal houden, sonder 't selve aan iemand te openbaren, dat ik de Caarsssen aan de Wachten uit deelen zal, gelijk men gewoonlijk is, ende mij bevoolen sal worden, ende dat ik mij in alles sal dragen gehoorsaam, ende obedient tegens mign Heeren, ende voorts in alles als een goet en de getrouw Camerbewaerder behoort te doen, soo waerlijck helpe mij Godt almachtich.
I swear that I, Kamerbewaarder of the magistrates' and council chamber, the keys of the said chamber well and faithfully to preserve and not to open other than by decrees of the magistrates and as one commonly does, that I allow in the magistrates' chamber will come to keep secret without the revealing it to anyone, that I will distribute the candles to the Wagten, as one usually does, and my bevoolen will be, and that I will in everything behave subserviently and obey the magistrates and furthermore in every way behave as a good and faithful camerbewaarder, so truly help me God almighty.
The magistrates' chamber is off the back right of the citizens' hall. After 1678, its walls were covered with paintings and maps in richly carved frames with symbolic images and text. The outside windows have images of the Delft Arms. is now used as the city's Trouwzaal, wedding hall. In the photo below from a city website, it is set up for a ceremony. The bride and groom sit in the two chairs in the middle. It can hold a hundred people, with seats for up to seventy-five.
The mayors' chamber was apparently not set up for large meetings because the magistrates' chamber was used for meetings of the city fathers, the Veertigraad, and the civic guard. In the photo below from the same site, it is currently set up for meetings and can hold up to 22 people.