The Life of Fools

Called a jester, folly, fool, or wit; court entertainers have existed throughout history and throughout the world. The fools of medieval and renaissance England were musicians, story-tellers, comedians, jugglers, and acrobats.

These men and women occupied a special place in the royal court as evidenced by a 1545 painting entitled “The Family of Henry VIII,” featuring Henry VIII’s famous fool, Will Sommers. Evidence suggests that Sommers may have been a “natural fool,” the phrase at the time that referred to an individual with a learning or mental disability. At the time, these individuals held a different place in society and were often considered to be more innocent and closer to God. In addition to entertainment, Henry VIII even relied on Sommer for counsel.

We are not responsible for the contents of external links. Full disclaimer can be found here.

Information sources:

Photo Credits / Sources:

William Merritt Chase [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons