William Hester

William Hester

External architecture detail

Vermin seem to have been a problem from the start at Kensington Palace and royal ‘ratkillers’ were employed from at least 1690, the year after William and Mary moved in.


Kensington’s first ‘royal ratkiller’

The accounts of the Lord Chamberlain’s department identify William Hester as the first pest controller, who was provided with a ‘crimson cloth coate lined with searge and guarded with black velvet’.

A new coat seems to have been provided each year and special liveries were made for mourning. Unfortunately the accounts do not mention any expenses for equipment so we don’t know how Hester and his successors went about their work.

Payment was made for the embroidery of Hester’s coat on the ‘back and breast with our and dearest consort the queens letters and Crownes, and … on the arms with Ratts and wheatsheaves’.


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