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The Tall Toad Tale of Jester Hats | Hat History

The Tall Toad Tale of Jester Hats | Hat History

This post is part of our “Hat History” series. In this series, we’re sewing together a bit of headgear history and revealing the meaning behind our favorite period, classic and modern hats!


Medieval Court Jester, (c) Streets of Salem

Did you know…

Medieval court jesters were more than just fools in funny clothes with silly hats. Most court jesters were actually quite smart and played an important role in the courts of medieval monarchs. They were known to add levity to medieval life’s heavy situations and defuse heated conversations by injecting humor and wit. Beyond their entertaining talents like singing or playing instruments, medieval jesters also possessed a very important privilege not enjoyed by many: free speech.


Thanks to their smarts and sarcasm, many jesters were able to playfully banter with and freely mock the monarch without punishment (although they did have to walk a thin line). Some were even known to challenge the monarch’s opinion, bravely deliver bad news and even sway opinions given they regularly had the court’s attention.


Commonly recognized for their eccentric headgear, the jesters hats are also known as “fool’s caps” or "cap' n 'bells”, due to the bell found at the end of each floppy point. The jingle of those little bells helped announce the appearance of the jester and the hat’s own good-humoured goofiness kicked off visits with laughs.

an original Jester Hat (c) Tall Toad Hats and Headdresses 

Over the years the colorful history of the jester has continued to inspire our customers and the eccentric cotton velveteen hats we create in their likeness have remained one of our top-selling American-made hats. In modern times, the spirit of the medieval jester lives on at places like renaissance festivals, medieval fairs, theater performances, rallies and Mardi Gras events. In fact, our Mardi Gras jester hat - in customary purple (representing justice), green (representing faith), and gold (representing power) - is a popular choice because of it’s durable American-made, hand-finished craftsmanship which guarantees customers many years of merry mockery.

Mardi Gras Jester Hat (c) Tall Toad Hats and Headdresses


Looking for a court jester hat or Mardi Gras jester hat of your own? Follow this link for our full assortment.