You've got be jesting! Lake District castle in search for a new fool (and that's no joke)

Boys jest wanna have fun: Previous entrants to the jester tournament

Boys jest wanna have fun: Previous entrants to the jester tournament

First published in News
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The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A LAKE District castle has announced it plans to recruit another fool.

Muncaster Castle is looking for a new jester and is inviting the world’s most entertaining fools to audition for the role at the International Jester Tournament on May 29.

It is thought to be the only castle in the world to appoint its own modern day jester.

Around 400 years ago, Muncaster had a real jester known as Tom Fool - believed to be where the inspiration for 'tom foolery' came from.

His real name was Thomas Skelton and he lived at the Castle and was linked to the fool in Shakespeare’s King Lear.

In his lifetime, Tom was an important figure at Muncaster and an imposing life-size portrait of him hangs on the Castle wall looking down on visitors.

The winner of the tournament will be crowned 'Fool of Muncaster' and will receive a crate of Tom Fool Ale, recently created by the Hardknott Brewery in Eskdale.

It follows the ancient tradition of court jesters being paid in ale.

Muncaster’s Peter Frost-Pennington says: “We really enjoy the jester tournament. It is great fun, and it has become one of the highlights of our year.

"A good jester can make an eight-year-old and an 80-year-old laugh at the same joke, which is a rare talent.”

The tournament will be the finale of the Castle’s five-day Muncaster Festival, which runs from May 25-29.

The current Fool of Muncaster, Martin Soan from Peckham, will compere the competition.

Anyone who would like to apply will need to be able to entertain an audience for around 20 minutes.

They should apply in writing with details about their relevant skills and any previous experience.

A maximum of five applicants will take part in the final contest.

Contestants must be over 18 years of age.

Further information can be obtained by phoning 01229 717614 or by emailing info@muncaster.co.uk

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