The Tudor Society
  • What is a Groom of the Stool? by Sarah Bryson

    The Groom of the Stool, or, as the official title was known, The Groom of the King’s Close Stool, has gone down in history as one of the grossest jobs available. As the name suggests the Groom of the Stool was responsible for attending to the King’s toileting needs. The Groom would care for the King’s toilet, known in the Tudor period as a ‘Stool’. He would be responsible for supplying water, towels and a washbowl for the King when he had finished his business. There is some debate as to whether or not the Groom of the Stool was responsible for wiping the King’s behind, with some believing he did and others thinking his duties did not extend to that extreme.
    While being responsible for the King’s bodily functions may seem quite disgusting for us in today’s times when going to the bathroom is considered to be a private matter, it was very, very different in the Tudor age.

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