As the king of England, Henry VIII had servants for just about everything. For those seeking political power, becoming a courtier meant that the more intimate you were with the king, the greater your rewards. Unfortunately, some of the greatest rewards came to the "groom of the stool," which in itself is a sad, little pun, but let's just say it gives new meaning to "kiss ass."

But the most intimate position of all was the ‘groom of the stool’, the man who helped Henry go to the toilet. Henry so trusted and confided in this figure that he was called the ‘chief gentlemen of the chamber’. From the time of Henry VII onwards, this man was also in charge of the ‘privy purse’ – he was the king’s personal treasurer. In fact, he practically directed England’s fiscal policy.

Sir William Compton of Compton in Warwickshire was Henry's first "groom of the stool," holding the position from 1509 until 1526. Apparently one of his best friends since childhood, what better way to reward him than by making him your "bottom-wiper-in-chief." However, it was quite profitable.

When Henry VIII came to the throne he appointed his life-long friend as his bottom-wiper-in-chief. Compton would arrange romantic trysts for the young Henry at his London home on Thames Street, and on the back of his royal intimacy (and consequent ability to influence royal patronage), Compton became exceptionally rich. Henry showered him with lucrative offices, including chancellor of Ireland, sheriff of Worcestershire, and sheriff of Somerset and Dorset. By 1521 Compton stewarded (managed) more royal estates than all the other courtiers put together.  

Compton died of sweating sickness in 1528. Head over to History Extra to read more.