Historically, the French word chatelaine was a set of decorative chains about the waist of a housekeeper (usually a woman in charge of the house itself, which is different from a modern housekeeper). Depending on their status, they could also be called hospitaliers (the key bearers in churches), or castellans (the key-bearer in castles). No matter where or what their charge in their society, the chains and keys indicate their responsibility to keep the house (church or castle) safe.
But more importantly, Chatelaines open doors to those that wish to enter.
This is the core idea of the Chatelaine (Chatelain for male). In the Woodlands of Northshield, Chatelaines are the officers in charge of greeting and helping all who are new to the SCA. They help at the branch level the most. In shires such as Skerjastrond the Chatelaine mostly handles the Office of the Gold Key, and loans costumes, feast gear, etc. to newcomers in the most need of it, making sure these items are organized for easy loaning and transportation to and from events. For bigger groups, the Chatelaine mostly handles newcomers and arranges the hospitality needs for out-of-town guests, and designates the Gold Key office to a deputy. In small groups without a Chatelaine the organization and execution of this position is distributed among all acting members.
The Chatelaine’s badge is a gold key upright on green, as if the key is about to unlock something beneath it.
Chatelaines authorial responsibility at demonstrations above the Herald and the Fighter Marshall (if their is no Chatelaine present, these events are responsibility of the Officer whose expertise is higher). The Chatelaine is responsible because the main purpose of demonstrations is to attract prospective members, and the Chatelaine has the most expertise in this field.
If you like to gossip, or hold negative feelings about anyone for personal, or perhaps confusing and self-conflicting reasons, this charge may not be for you, despite the glory of wafting people towards the aroma of medieval experience. Above all things, a Chatelaine must behave as if touched by the love of God and radiate your inner optimism, or else new members may turn quite quickly from your doors which you have the keys for. If you speak Scadian quite well, make sure you re-adapt mundane for potential members. In fact, if there’s anyone new reading this page, it’s probably half-gibberish. Digressing, if you are an honest and practical person (not only to others, but also yourself) that loves to help no matter the cost, this is the job for you.
Important Resource for a new Skerjastrond Chatelaine: