One of the highest positions in the Tudor court was that of groom of the stool (later groom of the stole). While this prominent position had some serious benefits, getting the chance to brush shoulders with royalty, and find your name in the Royal Household Staff records, also involved some rather serious downsides...

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The groom of the stool was one of the most highly-respected figures within the Royal Household, often acting as confidant to the king as well as assisting him with more intimate matters, such as bottom wiping. Potential candidates required more than just the ability to look beyond the less glamorous aspects of the job. A position as intimate and powerful as this required noble birth and candidates had to possess both a title, such as a duke or an earl, and an impressive family lineage to boot.

Henry Mordaunt

Henry Mordaunt, 2nd Earl of Peterborough and Ambassador to Madrid, was awarded one of the UK's highest honours, the Order of the Garter, in 1685. To celebrate, he was also awarded a position within the court. While he appears as a "server" in the Royal Household Staff records...

Henry Mordaunt in the Royal Household Establishment Books 1526-1920

...his title appears in true proud fashion in the Knights of the Realm Index: "Groom of the Stole to James II 1685-88".

Hanry Mordaunt in the Knights of the Realm index

Did your ancestor hold a secret power over the court as groom of the stool? Find out in our Royal Household Staff 1526-1924 records…

It could be worse... You could be transported to Australia for petty theft