Groom of the Stool
The appellation “Groom of the Stool” was in the earliest times a male servant in the household of an English monarch who was in charge of providing at all times adequate and seemly facilities for the monarch’s natural bodily function of excretion or defecation, and indeed assisted in the facilitating of his bodily functions and in his cleansing or washing thereafter.
The Groom of the Stool was the most intimate of a monarch’s courtiers, whose physical intimacy naturally led to him becoming a man in whom much confidence was placed by his royal master, and with whom many royal secrets were shared as a matter of course. This secret information he was privy to, whilst it would never have been revealed, to the discredit of his honour, in turn led to him becoming feared and respected and therefore powerful within the royal court in his own right.
In the 16th century both Henry VII and Henry VIII had grooms of this nature before the role evolved to become Groom of the Stole during the Stuart era. [Image: 16th century toilet]