Groom of the Stool

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From groom (officer of the English royal household) + of + the + (close-)stool (a chamber pot enclosed in a stool or box).[1]


Proper noun[edit]

Groom of the Stool (plural Grooms of the Stool)

  1. (Britain, monarchy, historical) Originally an official responsible for helping the English monarch use the toilet; later a senior official who was allowed access to the monarch's privy chamber and served as a personal secretary.
    Synonym: Groom of the Stole
    • 1651, Charl[e]s George Cock, English-Law; or, a Summary Survey of the Household of God on Earth; [], London: Printed by Robert White for T. G. and Francis Tyton, [], OCLC 16264937, page 52:
      The leſſer Corporations were [...] his Majeſties gratuities to the Lord of, &c. Marqueſs, &c. Q[ueen] Mother, Lady Nurſe, Groom of the ſtool, that is, the Cloſe ſtool, whether King or Queen (high and advantageous honours) and this diſcended to outlandiſh, as in Land commodities; yea, to pins and brooms; and it was ſaid, to Rags for paper, and Marrow-bones for Kitchin-ſtuff, or greaſe; [...]
    • 1675, Paul Festeau, “Dialogues”, in Nouvelle Grammaire Angloise, Enrichie de Dialogues Curieux Touchant l’Estat & la Cour d’Angleterre. [] [New English Grammar, Enriched with Curious Dialogues Touching the State & the Court of England. []], 2nd corrected and augmented edition, London: Chez George Wells, [], OCLC 828592284, pages 193–194:
      The King hath thirteen Gentlemen of the Bed-Chamber, who conſiſt uſually of the Prime Nobility of England, whereof the firſt is call'd Groom of the Stool [...] The meaning is a Groom or Servant of the Robe or Veſtment. He hath the Office and Honour to put on his Majeſties Shirt every morning, and to order the things of the Bed-Chamber[.]
    • 1695, Simon Degge, chapter VII, in The Parson’s Counsellor, with the Law of Tythes or Tything: In Two Books. [], 5th corrected and enlarged edition, London: Printed by the assigns of Richard and Edward Atkyns, Esquires, for Richard Sare [], and Jos[eph] Hindmarsh [], OCLC 316367674, pages 80–81:
      [T]he Statute enjoyns the Clergy-man to be reſident in and upon his Living, that is, his Parſonage or Vicarage-Houſe, if he have any, and not at any other Houſe in the Pariſh; [...] But the Chaplains of the Chancellor of the Dutchy, Augmentations, Firſt-fruits, Maſter of the Wards, Surveyor General, Treaſurer of the Chamber and Augmentations, and Groom of the Stool, are to be Reſident twice in a year at leaſt, Eight days at each time: [...]
    • 1743, “MONTMORENCY (Anne de)”, in Historical, Genealogical, and Classical Dictionary. [] In Two Volumes, volume II, London: Printed for A[ndrew] Millar, [], OCLC 221199042, column 2:
      MONTMORENCY (Anne de) firſt baron, peer, mareſchal, high-ſteward, conſtable of France; knight of St. Michael, and of the garter, groom of the ſtool, and governor of Languedoc, &c. was ſecond ſon to William lord of Montmorency.
    • 1831 September 1, “A Particular and Historical Account of the Ceremonies usually Observed at the Coronation of the Kings and Queens of Great Britain”, in The World of Fashion, and Continental Feuilletons. [], volume VIII, number 89, London: Printed by Mr. Bell, [], OCLC 847983942, page 211, column 1:
      The Queen then rises and goes to the faldstool, at which she is to be anointed and crowned, placed between King Edward's chair and the steps of the altar, where the Groom of the Stool to her Majesty (with the two Ladies of her Bedchamber) take off her rich circlet or coronet; when the Queen kneels down, and the Archbishop pours the holy oil on the crown of her head, in the form of a cross, using these words, "In the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost, let the anointing of this oil increase thine honour," &c.
    • 1995, Eric Ives, “Henry VIII: The Political Perspective”, in Diarmaid MacCulloch, editor, The Reign of Henry VIII: Politics, Policy and Piety (Problems in Focus), Basingstoke, Hampshire; London: Macmillan Press, DOI:10.1007/978-1-349-24214-6, →ISBN, page 20:
      It is the king's pleasure that Mr Norris shall be in the room of Sir William Compton, not only giving his attendance as groom of the stool but also in his bedchamber and other privy places as shall stand with his pleasure. And the king's express command is that none other of the said six gentlemen [of the privy chamber] presume to enter or follow his Grace into the said bedchamber, or any other secret place, unless he shall be called and admitted thereunto by his said grace.
    • 1997, Seth Lerer, “Pretexts: Chaucer’s Pandarus and the Origins of Courtly Discourse”, in Courtly Letters in the Age of Henry VIII: Literary Culture and the Arts of Deceit, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 22:
      As David Starkey has delineated in great detail, one of Henry [VIII]'s major administrative achievements was the centralization of court administration in a collection of younger gentry in bodily service to the King. Grooms of the Chamber, Grooms of the Stool, Esquires of the Body – these were the titles granted men who ministered to Henry's private functions, and as Starkey argues, it is this new sense of intimacy that recalibrates the English body politic into a politics of the King's body.
    • 2001, Alison Weir, Henry VIII: The King and His Court, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Ballantine Books, →ISBN; republished New York, N.Y.: Ballantine Books, 2008, →ISBN, page 81:
      The title of Groom of the Stool derived from that gentleman's privilege of attending his sovereign whenever he used the close stool; his duties were to provide him with a flannel "to wipe his nether end" and to summon a Yeoman of the Chamber to empty and clean the pot. Sir Thomas Heneage, Groom of the Stool from 1536 to 1546, was witness to the King's chronic constipation and his efforts to relieve it, [...]
    • 2003, Bruce Boehrer, “The Privy and Its Double: Scatology and Satire in Shakespeare’s Theatre”, in Richard Dutton and Jean E. Howard, editors, A Companion to Shakespeare’s Works, volume IV (The Poems, Problem Comedies, Late Plays), Malden, Mass.; Oxford, Oxfordshire: Blackwell Publishing, →ISBN, page 78:
      As cloacal factotum, the Groom of the Stool presides over the offices of royal excretion; he maintains the royal close-stool and examines its products for signs of health or distemperature; he serves, in this sense, both as a royal confidant and an intermediary between the royal self in its private and public capacities. The Groom's office, in short, involves an "exquisite combination of intimacy, degradation, and privilege" (Paster 1993: 32); [...]
    • 2014, Leonard Sweet, “Setting the Table at Home”, in From Tablet to Table: Where Community is Found and Identity is Formed, Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress in alliance with Tyndale House Publishers, →ISBN, part II (Life’s Three Tables), page 81:
      The exaltation of a monarch was such that few were fit to dine with one. Meanwhile, as many as eight "grooms of the stool" waited on kings when at privy. A king sat alone at the table and in company at the "throne."

Alternative forms[edit]



  1. ^ John Middleton, editor (2015) , “Grooms of the Stool”, in World Monarchies and Dynasties, volume 2, Abingdon, Oxfordshire; New York, N.Y.: Routledge, →ISBN, page 349.

Further reading[edit]