Lord of Misrule


One of the chief characters in the celebration of the Feast of Fools, a custom of the later medieval period, which came to be marked with much license and buffoonery, and was eventually suppressed. The Lord of Misrule was a mock precentor of the cathedral choir. Before the first Vespers he was allowed to intone the prose “Laetemur gaudiis“; during the second Vespers he was deprived of his precentor’s staff. The Feast of Fools originated in the Feast of the Subdeacons occurring 1 January; later it developed into a feast of the lower clergy; and still later it was taken up by certain brotherhoods of “fools.” There is little doubt that the license and buffoonery which came to be associated with this, as with other medieval feasts, had their origin in pagan times. The ecclesiastical authorities repeatedly condemned it or eandeavored to restrain it within bounds. Eventually it passed out of practise.

MLA Citation

  • “Lord of Misrule”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 17 August 2013. Web. 2 March 2021. <>