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groom of the stool

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groom of the stool (plural grooms of the stool)

  1. (historical) An official responsible for helping the English monarch use the toilet.
    • 1995, Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Reign of Henry VIII: Politics, Policy and Piety, Palgrave Macmillan (→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.
    • 2011, Christopher Gidlow, Life in a Tudor Palace, The History Press (→ISBN):
      At the first sound indicating that the king was actually awake, only one gentleman, Henry Norris, who had the senior role of groom of the stool, was allowed to enter the bedchamber 'and other privy places'. None of the others was to presume to enter or follow the king into the bedchamber or 'any other secret place'. What this meant was that the groom of the stool was responsible for helping the king go to the toilet – 'when he goeth to make water in his Bedchamber'.
    • 2013, Keith M Brown, Noble Power in Scotland from the Reformation to the Revolution, Edinburgh University Press (→ISBN), page 188:
      Sir Thomas Erskine of Gogar, later earl of Kellie, was captain of the yeoman of the guard from 1603 to 1617, a sensitive office that from 1605 he combined with the groom of the stool, giving him crucial influence over access to the king.
    • 2015, John Middleton, World Monarchies and Dynasties, Routledge (→ISBN), page 349:
      The groom of the stool also assisted the monarch in other aspects of daily life, such as dressing and eating. The position of groom of the stool originated in the fifteenth century, with the introduction of the close-stool, a stool holding a chamber pot. The office of Yeoman of the Stool emerged in the reign of Henry VI (r. 1422–1471). The Groom of the Stool appears in the records around 1495, with the founding of the Privy Chamber by Henry VII (r. 1485–1509).
    • 2016, Tracy Borman, The Private Lives of the Tudors: Uncovering the Secrets of Britain's Greatest Dynasty, Hodder & Stoughton (→ISBN):
      ... comprised just six grooms led by a groom of the stool. And in choosing them, Henry was guided not by rank or status, but by who he thought would 'best content the king'. Chief among them was Hugh Denys, groom of the stool, a Gloucestershire gentleman who had married into the influential family of Ros (or Roos), whose Lancastrian connections were strong. Born around 1440, Denys was one of the oldest members of Henry's entourage and his loyalty had already been well proved.

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