The Tudor Society

June 15 – The death of Will Somer, court fool

On this day in Tudor history, 15th June 1559, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, court fool William Somer (Sommers) died in Shoreditch, London.

He'd served as court fool to Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I.

Somer managed to survive the wrath of King Henry VIII to die a natural death in Elizabeth's reign.

He wasn't the only court fool at the time, and you can find out more about him and Jane the Fool in this video:

All the King’s Fools project -

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  1. B

    In Disability and the Tudors covers the story of Will Somers who was a remarkable character. He was brought to court by a courtier and served Henry for most of his reign. He was trusted by Henry and seems to have gotten away with a lot more than the normal courtier but he did get into trouble when he insulted Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth. He was treated like one of the family appearing in the Tudor family portraits. He was given a carer when he retired to look after his financial needs and an income. Some historians speculate as to whether fools where mentally disabled as they were seen as pure and without deceit.

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June 15 – The death of Will Somer, court fool