Lord of Misrule



  • In late medieval and Tudor times, a mock dignitary appointed to rule overChristmas festivities, also called the Abbot or King of Misruleand in Scotland the Abbot of Unreason. Lords of Misrule were appointed at the royal court, at Oxford and Cambridge, by the Lord Mayor of London, and in the households of noblemen. He ruled for a period varying from 12 days to three months (starting at Hallowe'en and lasting until the feast of the Purification), duringwhich he organized all the entertainment and presided over his own mock court. The most celebrated Lord of Misrule was George Ferrers, who organized lavish spectacles for the court of Edward VI: these included a mock naval battle on theThames and a joust of hobby horses. At court, the function of the Lord of Misrulewas eventually taken over by the Master of the Revels. see also Boy Bishop; Feast of Fools.