The Secrets of Hampton Court Palace

In this series join Zac as he explores the history and secrets the the famous Hampton Court Palace, home to Henry VIII, holds.

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The Secrets of Hampton Court Palace: The Page and the Gong Scourer

In this episode Zac is finding out about some of the most disgusting jobs from King Henry VIII's time...

Henry VIII had his very own toilet at Hampton Court Palace – something called a close stool. It was kind of like a posh chair with a potty in it!

There were a load of other toilets around the Palace too – like the garderobes in Base Court, though with no toilet paper and flushes, it does make one wonder how they kept everything clean with so many people at court!

King Henry was tough on things being clean. People used to wee in the courtyards and made a terrible stink, so he put crosses on the walls, as no one wants to pee on a cross.

What is a page?

A page was basically like a servant or a butler to someone who was of noble birth.

King Henry VIII most certainly would have had them doing all sorts of things for him.

They were often quite young.

What is a gong scourer?

A gong was a place where human waste went after someone had used a garderobe. It was basically a brick walled pit that people would wee and poo into as there wasn’t any plumbing back then.

But once the waste is in the gong, well there was there’s nowhere for it to go. It needed to be scooped out using buckets. And that’s were gong scourers came in.

Once they had scooped out what they could, they would then have to climb down into the gong to get the really hard stuff, and scrub the bricks clean so the gong could be used again. It was one of the most disgusting jobs there was!

The Groom of the Stool was a very important job in the Palace . It was someone who had to wipe the royal behind!
The King sits on the royal stool – beautiful and covered in velvets and ribbons – with a dish under the seat to catch what falls. The Groom of the Stool’s job was to pass over towels and water, cleaning things up. They said it was a privilege.

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The Secrets of Hampton Court Palace

In this series join Zac as he explores the history and secrets the the famous Hampton Court Palace, home to Henry VIII, holds.

More From The Secrets of Hampton Court Palace