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Yeoman was first documented in mid-14th-century England, referring to the middle ranks of servants in an English royal or noble household.
Yeomanry Yeomanry is a designation used by a number of units or sub-units of the British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Depend ...
was the name applied to groups of freeborn
commoners '' A commoner, also known as the ''common man'', ''commoners'', the ''common people'' or the ''masses'', was in earlier use an ordinary person in a community or nation who did not have any significant social status, especially one who was a memb ...
engaged as household guards, or raised as an army during times of war. The 14th century also witnessed the rise of the yeoman longbow archer during the
Hundred Years' War The Hundred Years’ War (french: link=yes, La guerre de Cent Ans; 1337–1453) was a series of armed conflicts between the kingdoms of and during the . It originated from disputed claims to the between the English and the French roy ...
, and the yeoman outlaws celebrated in the
Robin Hood Robin Hood is a legendary hero File:Wilhelm Tell Denkmal Altdorf um 1900.jpeg, upWilliam Tell, a popular folk hero of Switzerland. A hero (heroine in its feminine form) is a real person or a main fictional character who, in the face ...

Robin Hood
ballads. Yeomen also joined the English Navy during the Hundred Years' War as seamen and archers. In the early 15th century, yeoman was the rank of
chivalry Chivalry, or the chivalric code, is an informal and varying code of conduct A code of conduct is a set of rules outlining the norms Norm, the Norm or NORM may refer to: In academic disciplines * Norm (geology), an estimate of the idealised ...
between
page Page most commonly refers to: * Page (paper) A page is one side of a leaf A leaf (plural leaves) is the principal lateral appendage of the , usually borne above ground and specialized for . The leaves, stem, flower and fruit togethe ...
and
squire Starting in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the peop ...
. By the late 17th century, yeoman became a rank in the new
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
for the common seamen who were in charge of ship's stores, such as
foodstuffs Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd is a New Zealand grocery company owned by the retailers' cooperatives, Foodstuffs North Island Limited and Foodstuffs South Island Limited. Together, the two cooperatives collectively control an estimated 53% of the New Zea ...

foodstuffs
, gunpowder, and sails. References to the emerging social stratum of wealthy land-owning commoners began to appear after 1429. In that year, the
Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who u ...
re-organized the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorpor ...

House of Commons
into counties and boroughs, with voting rights granted to all freeholders. The Act of 1430 restricted voting rights to those freeholders whose land value exceeded 40 shillings. These yeomen would eventually become a social stratum of commoners below the
landed gentry The landed gentry, or the ''gentry'', is a largely historical British social class of landowners who could live entirely from rental income Renting, also known as hiring or letting, is an agreement where a payment is made for the temp ...
, but above the
husbandmen A husbandman in England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Cel ...
. This stratum later embodied the political and economic ideas of the
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...
and
Scottish Scottish usually refers to something of, from, or related to Scotland, including: *Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family native to Scotland *Scottish English *Scottish national identity, the Scottish iden ...
enlightenments, and transplanted those ideas to the Thirteen English colonies in North America during the 17th and 18th centuries. The yeoman farmers of those colonies became
citizen soldiers __NOTOC__ ''Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany'' is a non-fiction book about World War II written by Stephen E. Ambrose and published in 1997. It deals with Allies of World War II, Al ...
during the
American Revolution The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution which occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colo ...
against
Great Britain Great Britain is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), ...

Great Britain
. The 19th century saw a revival of interest in the medieval period with English Romantic literature. The yeoman outlaws of the ballads were refashioned into heroes fighting for justice under the law and the rights of freeborn Englishmen.


Etymology

The etymology of yeoman is uncertain for several reasons. The earliest documented use occurs in
Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured sys ...
. There are no known
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language ...
words which are considered acceptable parent words for yeoman. Nor are there any readily identifiable
cognates In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Itali ...
of yeoman in
Anglo-NormanAnglo-Norman may refer to: *Anglo-Normans The Anglo-Normans ( nrf, Anglo-Normaunds, ang, Engel-Norðmandisca) were the medieval ruling class in England, composed mainly of a combination of ethnic Anglo-Saxons, Normans, Bretons, Flemish people, F ...
,
Old Frisian Old Frisian was a West Germanic language spoken between the 8th and 16th centuries in the area between the Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticl ...
,
Old Dutch In linguistics, Old Dutch or Old Low Franconian is the set of Franconian dialects (i.e. dialects that evolved from Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical ...

Old Dutch
,
Old Saxon Old Saxon, also known as Old Low German, was a Germanic language The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of ...
, or
Middle Low German Middle Low German or Middle Saxon (autonym: ''Sassisch'', i.e. "Saxon", Standard German, Standard High German: ', Dutch language, Modern Dutch: ') is a developmental stage of Low German. It developed from the Old Saxon language in the Middle ...
. All of these languages are considered to be closely related to Old English at the time they were spoken. Taken together, these facts would indicate that yeoman (1) is a word specific to the found in England; and (2) is nothing similar to any word used in continental Europe. Another complicating factor for the etymology is that yeoman is a
compound word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the met ...
made by joining two other words: ''yeo'' + ''man''. Linguists have been perplexed about the origin of ''yeo'' ever since scholars such as
John Mitchell KembleJohn Mitchell Kemble (2 April 1807 – 26 March 1857), English scholar and historian, was the eldest son of Charles Kemble the actor and Maria Theresa Kemble. He is known for his major contribution to the history of the Anglo-Saxons and philology o ...
and
Joseph Bosworth Joseph Bosworth (1788 – 27 May 1876) was an English scholar of the Anglo-Saxon language Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic lang ...
began the modern linguistic study of Old English in the early to mid 19th century. Two possible etymologies have been proposed to explain the origin of ''yeo''.


''Oxford English Dictionary''

The ''
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal historical dictionary A historical dictionary or dictionary on historical principles is a dictionary which deals not only with the latterday meanings of words but also the historica ...
'' (OED) has proposed that yeoman is derived from ''yongerman'', which first appeared in a manuscript called ''Pseudo-Cnut's Constitutiones de Foresta''. Although the manuscript has been demonstrated to be a forgery (it was produced during the reign of
King Henry II of England Henry II (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189), also known as Henry Curtmantle (french: Court-manteau), Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet, was King of England This list of kings and queens of the begins with , who initially ruled , one of ...
, rather than during the reign of
King Cnut Cnut the Great (; ang, Cnut cyning; non, Knútr inn ríki; or , no, Knut den mektige, sv, Knut den Store. died 12 November 1035), also known as Canute, was King of Denmark The Monarchy of Denmark is a constitutional political system, ...

King Cnut
), it is considered authentic to the 11th and 12th century forest laws. According to the OED, the manuscript refers to 3 social classes: (1) the
thegn The term ''thegn'', also thane, or thayn in Shakespearean English Early Modern English or Early New English (sometimes abbreviated EModE, EMnE, or EME) is the stage of the English language from the beginning of the Tudor period to the English ...
(noble) at the top; (2) the tunman (townman) at the bottom; and (3) the lesser thegn in the middle. ''Yongerman'' is considered a
synonym A synonym is a word, morpheme A morpheme is the smallest meaningful lexical item in a language. A morpheme is not a word. The difference between a morpheme and a word is that a morpheme bound and free morphemes, sometimes does not stand alone ...
for a lesser thegn. OED then suggested that ''yongerman'' is related to ''youngman'', meaning a male youth or young male adult who was in the service of a high-ranking individual or family. What is interesting about this proposed etymology is that ''youngman'' is in turn related to
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia Scandinavia; : ''Skades ...
''ungmenni'' (youths); North Frisian ''ongman'' (lad, fellow);
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
''jongeman'' (youngman); and
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
''Jungmann'' (deckhand, ordinary seaman). Thus this etymology provides a plausible
semantic Semantics (from grc, σημαντικός ''sēmantikós'', "significant") is the study of reference Reference is a relationship between objects in which one object designates, or acts as a means by which to connect to or link to, another ...
link from ''yongerman'' to ''youngman'', while at the same time providing most of the earliest definitions of yeoman (see Historical Meanings
below Below may refer to: *Earth *Ground (disambiguation) *Soil *Floor *Bottom (disambiguation) *Less than *Temperatures below freezing *Hell or underworld People with the surname *Fred Below (1926–1988), American blues drummer *Fritz von Below (1853 ...
).


''Chambers Dictionary of Etymology''

The ''Chambers Dictionary of Etymology'' (CDE) is another well-respected scholarly source, as it is published by the same company which produces The Chambers Dictionary. Their proposed etymology reconstructs a possible Old English word, ''*ġēamann'', as the parent of yeoman. (The asterisk or star as the first letter is a linguistic convention to indicate the word has been reconstructed, and is unattested in any surviving record). The reconstructed word is a compound word made from the root word ''ġē'', ''ġēa'' (district, region) + ''mann'' (man). To further strengthen their etymology, CDE compares their reconstructed word to Old Frisian ''gāman'' (villager), and modern West Frisian ''gea'', ''goa'', Dutch ''gouw'', German ''Gau'' (district, region). When comparing the simpler and more comprehensive OED etymology with the CDE etymology, modern linguists have expressed dissatisfaction with the CDE version.


Historical meanings

In the
history of the English language English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language ...
, the earliest recorded usage of yeoman occurs in the
Late Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language spoken after the Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century. English language underwent distinct variations and developments following the Old English period. Scholarl ...
period, and then becoming more widespread in the
Early Modern English Early Modern English or Early New English (sometimes abbreviated EModE, EMnE, or EME) is the stage of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient th ...
period. The transition from Middle English to Early Modern English was a gradual process occurring over decades. For the sake of assigning a historical date, OED defines the end of Middle English and the beginning of Early Modern English as occurring in 1500. The year 1500 marks the end of nearly 200 years of political and economic upheaval in England. The
Hundred Years War The Hundred Years’ War (french: link=yes, La guerre de Cent Ans; 1337–1453) was a series of armed conflicts between the kingdoms of and during the . It originated from disputed claims to the between the English and the French roy ...

Hundred Years War
, the recurring episodes of the
Black Death The Black Death (also known as the Pestilence, the Great Mortality or the Plague) was a bubonic plague Bubonic plague is one of three types of plague caused by the plague bacterium Bacteria (; common noun bacteria, singular bact ...

Black Death
, and over 32 years of civil war known as the
War of the Roses The Wars of the Roses were a series of fifteenth-century English civil warsThis is a list of civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same state or country ...
all contributed to the end of the Middle Ages in England, and the beginning of the
English Renaissance The English Renaissance was a cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spellin ...
. It was during this time that English gradually replaced Norman French as the official language. The first single-language dictionary of the English language,
Robert Cawdrey Robert Cawdrey (ca. 1538 – after 1604) was an English clergyman who produced one of the first dictionaries of the English language, the ''Table Alphabeticall'', in 1604. Career Robert Cawdrey did not attend university, but became a school teach ...
's ''
Table Alphabeticall ''A Table Alphabeticall'' is the abbreviated title of the first monolingual dictionary A dictionary is a listing of lexemes from the lexicon of one or more specific languages, often arranged Alphabetical order, alphabetically (or by radica ...
'', was published in 1604. According to its subtitle, the dictionary only included unusual English words, and loan words from foreign languages such as Hebrew, Greek, Latin, or French. Yeoman is not included in this dictionary. This suggests that in 1604, yeoman was a very commonly-used English word. A more comprehensive, or general dictionary, was published in 1658.
Edward Phillips Edward Phillips (August 1630 – c. 1696) was an English author. Life He was the son of Edward Phillips of the crown office in chancery, and his wife Anne, only sister of John Milton John Milton (9 December 16088 November 1674) was an En ...
' ''
The New World of English Words ''The New World of English Words, or, a General Dictionary'' is a dictionary compiled by Edward Phillips Edward Phillips (August 1630 – c. 1696) was an English author. Life He was the son of Edward Phillips of the crown office in chancery, ...
'' contained basic definitions. Yeoman is included; probably for the first time in an English language dictionary. But only a legal definition was given: (1) a social class immediately below a Gentleman; and (2) a freeborn man who can sell "his own free land in yearly revenue to the summe of 40 shillings Sterling". The fact that only the legal definition (introduced in the Act of 1430) was given is another suggestion that yeoman was a common word at the time. Therefore, between the 12th century ''Pseudo-Cnut de Foresta'' and ''The New World of English Words'' in 1658, linguists have had to re-construct the meanings of yeoman from the surviving manuscripts. The various meanings of yeoman were apparently widely understood by the document author and his audience, and were not explained in the manuscripts. Linguists have deduced these specific historical meanings based on the context in which yeoman was used within the document itself. It is these meanings which are described in the following sections.


Household attendant or servant

This is one of the earliest documented uses of yeoman. It refers to a servant or attendant in a royal or noble household, usually one who is of higher rank in the household hierarchy. This hierarchy reflected the
feudal society Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the disc ...
in which they lived. Everyone who served a royal or noble household knew their duties, and knew their place. This was especially important when the household staff consisted of both nobles and commoners. There were actually two household hierarchies which existed in parallel. One was the organization based upon the function (
duty A duty (from "due" meaning "that which is owing"; fro, deu, did, past participle of ''devoir''; la, debere, debitum, whence "debt Debt is an obligation that requires one party, the debtor A debtor or debitor is a legal entity (legal ...
) being performed. The other was based upon whether the person performing the duty was a noble or a commoner. During the 14th century, the sizes of the royal households varied between 400 and 700 servants. Similar household duties were grouped into , which were then assigned to one of several Chief Officers. In the royal households of
Edward II Edward II (25 April 1284 – 21 September 1327), also called Edward of Caernarfon, was King of England This list of kings and queens of the begins with , who initially ruled , one of the which later made up modern England. A ...
,
Edward III Edward III (13 November 1312 – 21 June 1377), also known as Edward of Windsor before his accession, was King of England and Lord of Ireland from January 1327 until his death in 1377. He is noted for his military success and for restoring roy ...

Edward III
, and
Edward IV Edward IV (28 April 1442 – 9 April 1483) was King of England This list of kings and queens of the begins with , who initially ruled , one of the which later made up modern England. Alfred styled himself King of the from about 8 ...
, the Chief Officers, and some of their responsibilities, were: * The Steward oversaw the Offices concerned with household management. Procurement, storage, and preparation of food, waiting at table, and tending to the kitchen gardens, were some of the duties for which the Steward was responsible. * The
Treasurer A treasurer is the person responsible for running the treasury A treasury is either *A government department Ministry or department, also less commonly used secretariat, office, or directorate are designations used by a first-level executi ...
was responsible for the security of the King's treasury. This included tableware made of gold, silver, and precious stones, silver and gold-embroidered linens, as well as the Crown jewels. * The
Chamberlain Chamberlain may refer to: Profession *Chamberlain (office), the officer in charge of managing the household of a sovereign or other noble figure People *Chamberlain (surname) **Houston Stewart Chamberlain (1855-1927), German-British philosopher ...
supervised the personal service to the King. This included housekeeping in the royal chambers, and the day-to-day finances, such as purchases of foodstuffs, cloth, and other items. * The
Controller Controller may refer to: Occupations * Controller or financial controller, or in government accounting comptroller A comptroller is a management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization, whether it is a business, a ...
was responsible for the accounting of the
bullion coin A bullion coin is a coin A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα ...
received and disbursed by the Treasury. Some of the coinage was from tax levies and proceeds from the royal estates. Other
coinage Coinage may refer to: * Coin A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλ ...
came from loans made by the Italian banks (such as
Compagnia dei Bardi The Compagnia dei Bardi was a Florentine Florentine most commonly refers to: * a person or thing from Florence, a city in Italy * the Florentine dialect Florentine may also refer to: Places * Florentin, Tel Aviv, a neighborhood in the southern ...
and
Peruzzi The Peruzzi were bankers of Florence Florence ( ; it, Firenze ) is a city in Central Italy and the capital city of the Tuscany Regions of Italy, region. It is the most populated city in Tuscany, with 383,084 inhabitants in 2013, and over 1, ...
) as additional capital for warfare. And some of the coinage was received as ransom for noble prisoners of war, (such as King John II of France). * The Keeper of the Privy Seal was responsible for the King's small personal seal, which was used to validate letters issued by the King. Even from this small list of duties, it is evident that there were duties which only the nobility were entitled to perform. The Chief Officers were obviously nobles, and any duties which required close contact with the lord's immediate family, or their rooms, were handled by nobles. The servants were organized into a hierarchy which was arranged in ranks according to the level of responsibility. The highest rank, which reported directly to the Chief Officer and oversaw an individual Household Office, was the
Sergeant Sergeant ( ; abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase; ...

Sergeant
. The word was introduced to England by the Normans, and meant an attendant or servant. By the 15th century, the sergeants had acquired job titles which included their household office. Some examples are Sergeant of the Spicery, Sergeant of the
Saucery A saucery was the office in a medieval household The medieval household was, like modern household A household consists of one or several persons who live in the same dwelling In law, a dwelling (also residence, abode) is a self-contained ...
, and Sergeant of the
Chandlery A chandlery was originally the office in a wealthy medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past event ...
. The lowest rank of the Household Office was the Groom. First documented in Middle English, it meant a man-child or boy. When used in this sense as the lowest rank of a Household Office, it referred to a menial position for a free-born commoner. A stable boy was one of these entry-level jobs. The modern meaning of
groom A bridegroom (often shortened to groom) is a man who is about to be married in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouses. It establishes rights ...
as a stable hand who tends horses is derived from this usage. Yeoman was the household rank between Sergeant and Groom. One of the earliest contemporary references to yeoman is found in the ''Household Ordinances of King Edward III'' written near the end of the English Late Middle Ages.


''Household Ordinances of King Edward III''

A ''Household Ordinance'' is a King's Proclamation itemizing everyone and everything he desires for his royal household. In modern terms, it is the King's budget submitted to the English Parliament, itemizing how the tax revenues allotted to the King would be spent. Any budget shortfalls were expected to be made up from either the King's revenues from the
Crown lands Crown land (sometimes spelled crownland), also known as royal domain, is a territorial area belonging to the monarch, who personifies the Crown The Crown is the state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realms ...
, or loans from Italian bankers. The Ordinance can contain, among other items, the number of members of his royal household and their duties. Fortunately, two ordinances have survived from Edward III's reign which provide a glimpse into the King's Household during times of war as well as peace. They were recorded by Edward's Treasurer, Walter Wentwage. The 1344 Ordinance described the King's household that went with him to war in France. The 1347 Ordinance describes Edward's household after the Truce of Calais. Edward returned as the Black Death swept through France and into England. In the 1344 Ordinance, there are two groups of yeomen listed: ''Yeomen of the King's Chamber'' and ''Yeomen of the Offices''. Both groups are listed under ''Officers and ministers of the house with their retinue''. (Spellings have been modernized.) The separation into two groups seems to follow the contemporary social distinction between noble and common yeomen who share the same rank. This same distinction is found in the 1347 Ordinance, where ''Yeomen of the King's chamber'' are contained in the same list with ''Yeomen of offices in household''. Comparison of the two manuscripts reveals that Edward III had nine ''Yeomen of the King's chamber'' while on campaign in France, and twelve while he was home in England. Of the ''Yeomen of the Offices'', Edward had seventy-nine, and seventy while in England. Both the ''Yeomen of the King's chamber'' and the ''Yeomen of the Offices'' received the same wages. While on campaign, the yeomen received a daily wage of 6 pence. Sixpence at the time was considered standard for 1 day's work by a skilled tradesman. To compare with modern currency, the sixpence (half-shilling) in 1340 was worth between about £18.73-21.01 ($24.14-27.08 US) in 2017. A slightly different comparison is with the median household disposable income in Great Britain was £29,600 ($37,805 US) in 2019. Since the yeoman worked 7 days/per week, he would have earned between £6836-7669 ($8,730-11,072 US) per year in 2019 currency. While serving his King at home, the yeomen received an annual salary of 13 s 4d, and an annual allowance of 4 s for his
livery A livery is a uniform A uniform is a variety of clothing A kanga, worn throughout the African Great Lakes region Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel, and attire) are items worn on the body. Typically, clothing is made of fabri ...
. Livery was a symbol of the lord, conveying a sense of membership in the lord's house. The yeoman would be expected to wear it every day in the presence of the lord. His rank entitled him to dine in the Great Hall.


A functional title

By the reign of
King Henry VI Henry VI (6 December 1421 – 21 May 1471) was King of England from 1422 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471, and English claims to the French throne#Kings of France (1422), disputed King of France from 1422 to 1453. The only child of Henry ...

King Henry VI
, some of the Household Yeomen had acquired job titles. The ''Household Ordinance of King Henry VI'', written in 1455, listed the names of those yeomen with functional titles. The following is a partial list, arranged by the Office: # ''Office of the Kitchen'' #* ''Yeomen for the hall'' #** John Canne, Robert Litleboy, Richard Brigge #* ''Yeoman for the seating place'' #** Roger Sutton # ''Yeomen of the Crown'' #* Richard Clerk, ''Yeoman of the Armoury'' #* John Slytherst, ''Yeoman of the Robes'' # ''Yeomen of the Chamber'' #* Henri Est, ''Yeoman of the Beds'' #* John Marchall, ''Yeoman Surgeon'' #* Stephen Coote, ''Yeoman Skinner'' # ''Office of the Cellar'' #* William Wytnall, ''Yeoman for the bottles'' An unusual-sounding job title was ''Yeoman for the King's Mouth''. This was not a food taster for poison. Rather it applied to any job which required the handling of anything that touched the King's mouth: cups, bowls, table linen, bed linens etc. The ''Household Ordinance'' lists the following as ''Yeoman for the King's Mouth'' and the Office in which they worked: * William Pratte, ''Office of the Kitchen'' * John Martyn, ''Office of the Lardery'' * William Stoughton, ''Office of the Catery'' * John Browne, ''Office of the Saucery'' * John Penne, ''Office of the Ewery'' * Thomas Laurence, ''Office of the Poultry''


''Black Book of the King's Household Edward IV''

Detailed descriptions of the duties assigned to these and other yeomen in the Household Offices are given in '' Liber Niger Domus Regis Angliae Edw. IV'' (''Black Book of the King's Household
Edward IV Edward IV (28 April 1442 – 9 April 1483) was King of England This list of kings and queens of the begins with , who initially ruled , one of the which later made up modern England. Alfred styled himself King of the from about 8 ...
'').


= ''Yeomen of the Crown''

= These were 24 yeomen archers chosen from the best archers of all the lords of England for their "cunning and virtue", as well as for their manners and honesty. The number of archers was a reminder of the 24 archers in Edward III's ''King's Watchmen''. Four of the yeomen: ''Yeoman of the Wardrobe''; ''Yeoman of the Wardrobe of Beds''; and 2 ''Yeomen Ushers of the Chamber'' ate in the King's Chamber. The rest ate in the Great Hall with the Yeomen of the Household, except for the four great feasts (
Christmastide Christmastide is a season of the liturgical year The liturgical year, also known as the church year or Christian year, as well as the kalendar, consists of the cycle of liturgy, liturgical seasons in Christian churches that determines whe ...
,
Eastertide Eastertide (also known as Eastertime or the Easter season) or Paschaltide (also known as Paschaltime or the Paschal season) is a festal season in the liturgical year The liturgical year, also known as the church year or Christian year, ...
,
Whitsuntide Whitsun (also Whitsunday or Whit Sunday) is the name used in Britain and Northern Ireland, and throughout the world among Catholic, Anglicans and Methodists, for the Christian festival of Pentecost. It is the seventh Sunday after Easter, which comm ...
, and
Allhallowtide Allhallowtide, Hallowtide, Allsaintstide, or the Hallowmas season, is the Western Christian 250px, St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, the largest church building in the world today. Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Ch ...
), when all the Yeomen ate in the King's Chamber. Additional duties were: ''Yeoman of the Stool''; ''Yeoman of the Armory''; ''Yeoman of the Bows for the King''; ''Yeoman of the King's Books''; and ''Yeoman of the King's Dogs''. The Yeoman on night watch were armed with their swords (or other weapons) at the ready, and their harness (
quiver A quiver is a container for holding arrows, Crossbow bolt, bolts, Dart (missile), darts, or javelins. It can be carried on an archer's body, the bow, or the ground, depending on the type of shooting and the archer's personal preference. Quivers ...

quiver
) strapped to their shoulders.


= ''Office of the Ewery and Napery''

= The duty of serving the King's person was assigned to the ''Sergeant of the King's Mouth'', who had a Yeoman and a Groom as his deputies. Anything that touched the King's mouth at the dining table was considered their responsibility. The King's personal tableware (plates, cups, ewers, his personal eating utensils) made of precious metals and jewels, as well as his personal table linens (some were embroidered with silver or gold thread) were retrieved from the Household Treasurer. The Treasurer drew up a list of the valuable objects being withdrawn from the Royal Treasury, and each object was weighed before it was released to the Sergeant and/or his deputies. Whether the King dined in his Chamber or in the Great Hall, the Groom's duty was brush the tables clean, and cover them with the King's table linens, which were "wholesome, clean, and untouched" by strangers. During the meal, the Sergeant attended the King with "clean basins and most pure waters" and towels untouched by strangers for cleansing his hands as needed. If the Sergeant was away or not fit to appear at the King's table, the Yeoman would take his place. After the meal, the soiled linens were taken to the ''Office of the Lavendrey'' (Laundry), where they were carefully inspected and counted by both the ''Ewery'' deputies and those responsible for the King's Laundry. After being washed and dried, they were counted and inspected once again. The tableware was cleaned in the ''Ewery'' and returned to the Treasurer, where they were re-weighed to verify that no silver or gold had been removed. The table linen was closely inspected for any damage by the Treasurer. This traceability helped to discourage theft or intentional damage, as the servants were "upon pain of making good therefore, and for the lost pieces thereof."


Yeoman service

Yeoman service (also yeoman's service) is an
idiom An idiom is a phrase In syntax and grammar, a phrase is a group of words which act together as a grammatical unit. For instance, the English language, English expression "the very happy squirrel" is a noun phrase which contains the adjective phra ...
which means "good, efficient, and useful service" in some cause. It has the
connotations A connotation is a commonly understood cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, custom ...
of the work performed by a faithful servant of the lower ranks, who does whatever it takes to get the job done. The sense - although not the use - of the idiom can be found in the '' Gest of Robyn Hode'', dated to about 1500. In the ''First Fitte'' (the first section of the ballad), Robin gave money to a poor knight to pay his debt to the monks of St Mary's Abbey. Noticing that the knight was traveling alone, Robin offered him the service of Little John as a yeoman in lines ??: :"I shall thee lend Little John, my man, :For he shall be thy knave; :In a yeoman's stead he may thee stand, :If thou great need have." Here Robin vouches for Little John as a yeoman, a faithful servant who will perform whatever duties are required in times of great need. The phrase ''yeoman's service'' is used by
William Shakespeare William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national p ...

William Shakespeare
in
Hamlet ''The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark'', often shortened to ''Hamlet'' (), is a tragedy Tragedy (from the grc-gre, τραγῳδία, ''tragōidia'', ''tragōidia'') is a genre of drama Drama is the specific Mode (litera ...

Hamlet
(published in 1601). In Act V, Scene II, Hamlet tells Horatio how he discovered the king's plot against himself in a commission (document). Hamlet then says he has substituted for the original a commission which he himself wrote: :::"... I sat me down, :Devised a new commission, wrote it fair— :I once did hold it, as our statists do, :A baseness to write fair, and labored much :How to forget that learning; but, sir, now :It did me yeoman's service." Hamlet remarks that he "wrote it fair", that is, in elegant, gentlemanly prose; a style of writing which he tried very hard to forget. But in composing the fake commission, Hamlet had to resort to "that learning". He tells Horatio that "it did me yeoman's service", that is, his learning stood him in good stead. ''Standing one in good stead'' is another idiom very similar in meaning to yeoman service. Note that it was used in the third line of Stanza of the ''Gest of Robyn Hode'' quoted in the paragraph above.


Attendant or assistant to an official

Marshalsea Court was a court of the English royal household, presided over by the Steward and the Knight-Marshal. The court kept records from about 1276 until 1611. Unfortunately, only a few survive from the years 1316–59. Some information on the yeomen of the Marshalsea Court can be found in the Household Ordinance of King Edward IV from about 1483. The author of the Ordinance, looking back to the earlier household ordinances of King Edward III wrote: "Our sovereign lord's household is now discharged ... of the Court of Marshalsea, and all his clerks and yeomen." The writer was referring to the transfer of the Marshalsea Court from the royal household. The Ordinance describe the duties of the Steward of the Household, who was also the Steward of the Court of Marshalsea. The Steward was assigned one chaplain, two squires, and four yeomen as his personal retinue. One yeoman was specifically attached to the Steward's rooms at the Court of Marshalsea "to keep his chamber and stuff". When the Steward was present in Court, he was entitled to a 10-person retinue. Besides the Steward and the Knight-Marshal, two other members of the royal household were empowered to preside: the Treasurer and the Controller. Of the Steward, Treasurer, and the Controller, at least one of them must preside in the Court everyday.


A chivalric rank

One of the earliest documents which contains yeoman as a chivalric rank is the ''Chronicon Vilodunense'' (''Life of Saint Edith''). Originally written in Latin by
GoscelinGoscelin of Saint-Bertin (or Goscelin of Canterbury) was a Benedictine hagiography, hagiographical writer. His date of birth is unknown, but it cannot have been later than the early 1040s. He was a Fleming or Duchy of Brabant, Brabantian by birth and ...
sometime in the 11th century, it was later translated into the Wiltshire dialect of Middle English about 1420. Part of the manuscript relates a story about the
archbishop of York The Archbishop of York is a senior bishop in the Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is a List of Christian denominations, Christian church which is the established church of England. The archbishop of Canterbury is the most ...
caught in a storm at sea while on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He prayed to Saint Edith for the storm to subside, and suddenly he saw Saint Edith standing beside him. The Blessed Virgin had sent her, she said, to assure the archbishop he would arrive home safe and sound. Miraculously, the storm stopped. The archbishop kept his vow, and visited St Edith's tomb at
Wilton Abbey Wilton Abbey was a Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sancti Benedicti, abbreviated as OSB), are a Christian monasticism, monastic Religious order (Catholic), religious order of the Catholic ...
. There he preached a sermon about the miracle to each man there: knight, squire, yeoman, and page. Although Wilton Abbey was a Benedictine
nunnery A convent is a community of either priest A priest is a religious leader Clergy are formal leaders within established religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populat ...
, it held its lands from the king by
knight service Knight-service was a form of feudal land tenure Under the English feudal system Feudalism as practiced in the Kingdom of England during the medieval period was a state of human society that organized political and military leadership and force a ...
. The
Abbess In Catholicism, an abbess (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the ...
' knights were her tenants, who in turn held land from the
Abbey An abbey is a type of monastery A monastery is a building or complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplaces of monastics, monks or nuns, whether living in Cenobitic monasticism, communities or alone (hermits). A mo ...

Abbey
by knight service. Usually the abbess fulfilled her duty to the king by
scutage Scutage is a medieval English tax levied on holders of a knight's fee In feudal Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was a combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe between the ...
. But she had knights with on his 1223 Welsh campaign, and at the Siege of
Bedford Castle Bedford Castle was a large medieval castle in Bedford, England. Built after 1100 by Henry I of England, Henry I, the castle played a prominent part in both the civil war of the Anarchy and the First Barons' War. The castle was significantly ext ...
the following year. Between 1277 and 1327 she offered knight service at least four times. About 50 years later in 1470, another reference to yeomen is made in the Warkworth Chronicle. The scene is King Edward IV's coronation, and the chronicler lists the nobles who received titles from His Majesty. At the end of the list he notes: "And other gentlemen and yeomen he made knights and squires, as they had deserved." (modern spelling) The chronicler makes no further mention of these men.


Yeomanry

An early historical meaning that seems to have disappeared before our modern era is "something pertaining to or characteristic of a yeoman", such as the speech or the dress. Perhaps the best way of illustrating this meaning is to quote briefly from one of the earliest Middle English ballads. '' Ballad of Robin Hood and the Potter'' survives as a manuscript dated from about 1500. Robin demands a one penny toll of the Potter, for which the traveler could then proceed unharmed by the outlaw. The Potter refuses to pay. A scuffle ensues, in which the Potter overcomes Robin. The Potter then wants to know whom he has beaten. After hearing Robin's name, the Potter responds: :"It is full little courtesy," said the potter. :"As I have heard wise men say, :If'n a poor yeoman come driving over the way, :To hold him on his journey." :"By my troth, thou says truth", said Robin. :"Thou says good yeomanry; :And though thou go forth every day, :Thou shalt not be held by me." ::(lines 85-89; modern translation from glossary notes) In the first stanza the Potter describes himself as a poor yeoman, whom people say Robin Hood would never stop or waylay (also known as a holdup). It is obvious from the story that the Potter was not dressed in a yeomanly manner, otherwise Robin would have never accosted him. It was not until Robin heard the Potter speak that he recognizes him as a yeoman. Whether he was referring to his direct straightforward manner, or his dialect, or both, is unclear to a 21st century reader. But it is apparent that the original 15th century audiences knew exactly what ''good yeomanry'' was.


Yeoman archer

The Yeoman Archers were the English Army's response to a chronic manpower problem when trying to field an army on the European continent during the 14th century. Against 27,000 French knights, England could only muster at most 5,000
men-at-arms A man-at-arms was a soldier of the High Middle Ages, High Medieval to Renaissance periods who was typically well-versed in the use of arms and served as a fully armoured heavy cavalryman. A man-at-arms could be a knight, or other nobleman, a ...
. With this 5:1 tactical disadvantage, the English needed a strategic advantage. When Edward I invaded Wales in 1282, he quickly realized the battlefield importance of the opposing Welsh archers. Firing from ambush, they inflicted serious casualties on Edward's army. When Edward invaded Scotland for the second time in 1298, his army consisted mostly of infantry (12,500 of 15,000 men). His infantry included about 10,500-10,900 Welshmen. 2,000 men, including archers, were raised as part of the Lancashire and Cheshire levies under the
Commission of Array A commission of array was a Letters patent, commission given by England, English sovereigns to officers or gentry in a given territory to muster and array the inhabitants and to see them in a condition for war, or to put soldiers of a country in a ...
. At the
Battle of Falkirk The Battle of Falkirk (''Blàr na h-Eaglaise Brice'' in Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaeli ...

Battle of Falkirk
, the English army archers opened up the Scottish
schiltrons A schiltron (also spelled sheltron, sceld-trome, schiltrom, or shiltron) is a compact body of troops forming a battle array, shield wall The formation of a shield wall ( or in Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest ...
with hails of arrows. The Scottish infantrymen fled the battlefield, to be pursued and killed by the English cavalry. Between 1300 and 1304, Edward returned to Scotland four more times to complete his conquest. However, the size of his army grew smaller with each campaign, as the Scots refused to meet Edward in battle. Edward appeared to realize that large numbers of infantry troops were not mobile enough to chase and do battle with an elusive opponent. In the meantime, however, the men of North Wales and the English counties along the Scottish border were acquiring military experience. The yeoman archers were learning new skills as mounted archers. Edward died in 1307, while en route to Scotland for yet another invasion. His son, now King Edward II, continued his father's Scottish campaigns beginning in 1313. Then came the disastrous defeat at Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. The army was in marching order, with the archers at the rear of the column. They could do nothing against the Scottish spearmen attacking the front of the column. Edward II was later deposed in 1327 by a coup engineered by his wife, Queen Isabella of France, Queen Isabella and her paramour, Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, Roger Mortimer. Three years later, his son King Edward III, Edward II of England#Reign, wrested control of England from his mother and executed Mortimer. In 1333, Edward III undertook his first invasion of Scotland, which culminated with the Battle of Halidon Hill. Halidon Hill is where the 20-year old Edward III learned how to combine archers and dismounted men-at-arms - tactics that he would employ during his Crecy Campaign in France. The 1344 Household Ordinance of King Edward III provides some contemporary evidence for the use of archers in Edward's Crecy Campaign in France. Only ''The King's Archers'' (a total of 121 men) are identified with a functional title. The rest of the archers are listed as either ''Archers'', ''Archers on foot'', or ''Archers on horse''. The latter title does not imply archers shooting from horseback. It refers to the English practice of having mounted archers being able to reach the scene quickly, dismount, and set up a firing line. The ''Archers on foot'' would then follow as reinforcements. The ''Esquires of the King's Household'' (a total of 101) were responsible for 60 ''Archers on horse'', and 21 ''Archers on foot''. The ''Household Officers and Ministers'' had 21 ''Archers on horse'' for their protection. Even the 19 Minstrels had 3 ''Archers on horse'' and 3 ''Archers on foot'' assigned as protection. At the end of the listing, a total of 20,076 Archers was given for Edward's entire army. The daily wage for the three classes of archers is interesting when compared to the ''Yeomen of the King's Chamber'', who received 6 pence a day. ''The King's Archers'' received 6 pence; ''Archers on horse'' received 4 pence; and ''Archers on foot'' received 3 pence. In contrast, the 4,244 ''Welshmen on foot'' received just 2 pence. From the description ''Welshmen on foot'' and only receiving a daily wage of 2 pence, it is uncertain that these Welshmen were archers. Crécy was followed by another English victory at the Battle of Poitiers, and a final victory at the Siege of Calais (1348), Siege of Calais. By the end of the Hundred Years War, the Yeoman Archer had become as legendary as his bow. Edward I had used the Commission of Array to conscript his infantry and archers. Unfortunately, this method tended to scoop up men from the very bottom rungs of feudal social ladder, and very few archers. His grandson, Edward III, introduced a new recruiting technique called Indenture, contracted indentures. They were agreements for military service for a specified period at a specified price. The indenture was agreed between the King and an individual commander. Usually, these were the same men who would have owed the King feudal military service. Under the indenture, the commander would recruit his own archers and men-at-arms (usually squires) as a single cohesive force. Thus, those going into battle were among men they knew and had trained with. Furthermore, since the archers had to provide their own horses, they would be of at least moderate means. Economics of war drew the social levels of the men-at-arms and the yeoman closer together. Yeomen archers were becoming the lower level of the gentry. There were four reasons why a man-at-arms or a yeoman would go to war in France: pay; plunder; patronage; and pardon. The daily wage was rather attractive; as described #Household Ordinances of King Edward III, above. But English kings were notoriously slow with their pay, especially in time of war. Plunder was a much greater attraction. The division of battle spoils was actually written into the indentures. Normally, the king was entitled to one-third of all the spoils taken by his contracted commanders. In turn, the commanders were entitled to one-third of the spoils taken by their men. Patronage was almost as attractive as booty. Combat camaraderie counts for a lot once the war is over. Just as the king would look more favorably upon a commander who served him well in the campaign, so would that commander look more favorably upon a yeoman who served him faithfully. Finally, there is a pardon. Many excellent archers were outlaws, and the king offered pardons for all their offenses, including murder.


Yeoman of the Guard

On 22 August 1485, near the small village of Stoke Golding, Henry VII of England#Rise to the throne, Henry Tudor met King Richard III in battle for the Crown of England. The
War of the Roses The Wars of the Roses were a series of fifteenth-century English civil warsThis is a list of civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same state or country ...
had persisted intermittently for more than 30 years between the rival claimants of the House of York (white rose) and the House of Lancaster (red rose). In 1483, Richard, of the House of York, had deposed his young nephew, 12-year old Edward V. Henry Tudor, of the House of Lancaster, was the favored candidate to replace Richard. Three armies met that day on Bosworth Field: Richard, with his supporters, John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk, Duke of Norfolk and the Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland, Earl of Northumberland; Henry, with his troops under command of the veteran John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford, John de Vere, Earl of Oxford; and the troops of Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby#The Battle of Bosworth, Thomas, Lord Stanley. Stanley was a powerful lord in northwest England. But he was stepfather of Henry Tudor, and Richard was holding his son hostage. Stanley's forces remained uncommitted as the battle raged. As Oxford advanced, the troops appeared to leave Henry, his bodyguards, and some French mercenaries isolated. Or so it appeared to Richard. Sensing an opportunity, Richard charged toward Henry. Seeing this, Stanley made his decision, and charged to reinforce Henry. Henry's bodyguards fought bravely to hold off Richard's bodyguards until the arrival of Stanley's troops. During the melee, Richard's horse became mired in the marsh, and he was killed. Henry had won. Henry rewarded his bodyguards by formal establishing the ''Yeomen of the Guard of (the body of) our Lord the King''. The King of England always had bodyguards (see #Yeo Crown, Yeoman of the Crown). This royal act recognized their bravery and loyalty in doing their duty, and designated them as the first members of a bodyguard to protect the King (or Queen) of England forever. In their first official act on 1 October 1485, fifty members of the Yeoman of the Guard, led by John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford, formally escorted Henry Tudor to his coronation ceremony.


Yeoman Warder

The Tower of London was used as permanent royal residence until 1509–10, during the reign of King Henry VIII. Henry ordered 12 #Yeo Guard, Yeoman of the Guard to remain as a garrison, indicating that the Tower was still a royal palace. When the Tower no longer served that function, the garrison became warders, and were not permitted to wear the Yeoman of the Guard uniform. During the reign of Henry's son, Edward VI, the warders were given back the uniform. This was done as a result of petition from the former Lord Protector, Lord Protector of the Realm, Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset. Seymour, who was Edward's uncle, had been confined there, and found the warders to be most considerate.


English Navy yeoman

The earliest documented use of yeoman relative to a navy is found in the Prologue and Tale of Beryn, ''Merchant's Tale of Beryn'': "Why gone the yeomen to boat - Anchors to haul?" The context of the quotation sheds no further light on either yeomen or boats. What is important is the date of the manuscript: between 1450 and 1470. This places the ''Merchant's Tale of Beryn'' about the same time as the ''Robin Hood and the Monk'' manuscript, and shortly before the end of the Hundred Years War. Therefore, this meaning of yeoman occurs very early in Middle English. To understand the connections between yeoman and the English navy, it is necessary to examine King Edward III's reign and the beginning of the Hundred Years War. England did not have a standing navy until the Tudor Navy of King Henry VIII. Before then, the "King's Ships" were a very small fleet allocated for the King's personal use. During the Hundred Years War, King Edward III actually owned only a few ships. The rest were made available to the King through agreements with his nobles and the various port towns of England. About 25 ships of various sizes were made available to Edward III every year. They ranged from the small Thames sailing barges (descended from the famous Norman longships of the Bayeux Tapestry) which shuttled the royal retinue up and down the River Thames, to large Cog (ship), cogs. Cogs were large merchant ships, with high prows and sterns, and a single mast with a single square sail. The largest cogs were built to carry sizable wine casks. The Worshipful Company of Vintners, Vintners' Company, in return for their monopoly on the wine trade, had to make their cogs available to the King on demand. The 1345 ''Household Ordinance of Edward III'' provides a brief summary of the Fleets organized for the Crécy campaign. The South Fleet (which included all English ports south and west of River Thames) consisted of 493 ships with 9,630 mariners. Of these, the ''King's Ships'' (25 ships with 419 mariners), the ports of Dartmouth (31 ships with 757 mariners), Plymouth (26 ships with 603 mariners), and London (25 ships with 602 mariners) were the largest contingents. The North Fleet (which included all English ports north of River Thames) consisted of 217 ships with 4521 mariners. The port of Yarmouth, with 43 ships with 1095 mariners, was the largest contingent. The definition of a mariner is unclear, as is the difference between a mariner and a sailor. The number of mariners given is about twice that needed to man a ship. Edward's warships carried two crews. The second crew was used for night sailing, for providing a crew for prize ships, and for providing more fighting men. Early in the Hundred Years War, the largest existing merchant ships, such as the cog, were converted to warships with the addition of wooden castles. There were three types of castles: forecastle (at the prow), aftcastle (at the stern), and the topcastle (at the top of the mast). A record from 1335 tells of the vessel ''Trinity'' (200 tons) being converted for war. As new ships were built, the castles became integral with the ship's hull. As the King was impressing all the big ships and their crews for the war effort, the mayors and merchants of the port towns were retrofitting old ships and building new ones for harbor defense, and patrols to protect coastal ships and fishing boats from enemy ships and pirates. By this time (mid-14th century), the Captain of the ship was a separate military rank. He was responsible for the defense of the ship. For every 4 mariners aboard the warship, there was 1 man-at-arms and 1 archer who was stationed in the castles. For a vessel the size of the ''Trinity'', which carried about 130 mariners, there were at least 32 men-at-arms and 32 archers. These illuminations from a 14th-century manuscript provide some insight as to how the retrofitted castles were used in battle. The first illustration shows a 2-masted vessel, with a man-at-arms in the retrofitted aftcastle, and an archer in the retrofitted topcastle. The next illustration shows a battle scene. The tactics included using grappling hooks to position the ships so that the archers on the aftcastles had clear shots into the opposing ship. After raking the deck with arrows, the men-at-arms would swing over to finish the job. The warship Captain was also responsible for Convoy#Age of Sail, convoying 30 merchant vessels from English ports to the French shore. These vessels carried the troops, horses, food, forage, and whatever else was needed upon landing in France. The Sea captain, Master (or Master Mariner) was responsible for sailing the vessel. Under him were the Constables (equivalent to today's boatswains). One constable oversaw twenty crewmen. Collecting a crew was traditionally the task of the Master. However, with the need for double-crews, the King authorized his Admirals to offer the King's pardon to outlaws and pirates. In 1342, the number of men who responded exceeded the demand. Edward's deputies never had trouble again raising the crews they needed. This is reminiscent of the #Rob Hood, pardons offered by Edward to outlaws of the Robin Hood ballads. Therefore, it is possible that the real answer to "Why gone the yeomen to boat - Anchors to haul?" was a pardon. Instances of yeoman in a naval context are rare before 1700. In 1509, the Board of Ordnance#Origins of the Board, Office of Ordnance had a Master, Clerk, and Yeoman. In 1608, a House of Lords manuscript mentions a ship's gunner and a yeoman. Then in 1669 appeared ''The Mariner's Magazine'', dedicated to the Society of Merchant Venturers, Society of Merchant-Adventurers of the City of Bristol. Among the various chapters on the use of mathematics in sea navigation and gunnery, the author suggests "He [the Gunner] must be careful in making Choice of a sober honest Man, for the Yeoman of the Powder."(modern spelling) In 1702, actual titles of seamen appear in the ''London Gazette'': Yeomen of the Sheets, and Yeomen of the Powder Room.


Social stratum of small freeholders

This review of the yeoman freeholders is divided into three periods: (a) up to 1500; (b) between 1500 and 1600; and (c) between 1600 and 1800. This division corresponds roughly to the historical changes experienced by the freeholders themselves, as well as the shifting contemporary social hierarchies in which they lived. It is also influenced by the availability of sources for each period.


Up to 1500

The parliament of 1327 was a watershed event. For the first time since the Norman Conquest, an English king was disposed peaceably, and not usurped by military means. Although
Edward II Edward II (25 April 1284 – 21 September 1327), also called Edward of Caernarfon, was King of England This list of kings and queens of the begins with , who initially ruled , one of the which later made up modern England. A ...
had been previously threatened with deposition in 1310 and 1321, all those who attended the parliament of 1327 were aware of the constitutional crisis. The king was imprisoned by his Isabella of France, Queen Isabella and her paramour Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, Roger Mortimer after their Invasion of England (1326), invasion of England. The Parliament was a legal pretense to confer legitimacy upon their actions. The Lords Temporal and the Lords Spiritual were summoned in the King's name, while the Knights of the Shire, Burgess (title), Burgesses from the towns, and representatives from the Cinque Ports were elected to attend. (Note 13: Richardson and Sayles 1930 p 44–45) According to Michael Prestwich: "What was necessary was to ensure that every conceivable means of removing the King was adopted, and the procedures combined all possible precedents". Hence, establishing the legitimacy of Edward III was paramount. But it was the Knights of the Shire and Burgesses (hereafter referred to as ''the commons'') who drove the proceedings, both before and after Edward III's coronation. Beginning in 1327, the commons became a permanent part of parliament. In the 14th century, the name commons did not have its modern meaning of ''common people''. It referred to ''the communities'', which was ''les Communs'' in Anglo-Norman language, Anglo-Norman French. The word meant that those elected to the parliament were representatives of their communities, that is, the shires and the urban areas. To distinguish between this early assembly from the later House of Commons, ''the commons'' is used herein. The commons included the Proctor#England, proctors of the lesser Clergy#Christianity, clergy as members of the sessions. In 1333, the commons sat together in a single chamber for the first time. About this same time, the commons was evolving into its role of legislating taxation. The king preferred to include taxes on clerical income with the direct taxes on the laity. The church hierarchy (archbishops and bishops) considered that no secular authority had the right to enforce tax collection from clerical income in a secular court. Such cases, they thought, should be considered in an of law. In 1340, the bishops negotiated a settlement with the Crown, wherein disputes between the king and clergy over taxation would be heard in ecclesiastical courts at either Canterbury or York. Therefore, there was no longer a need for the proctors to attend the commons. This was an important milestone for the commons. It became a secular assembly, its deliberations unaffected by ecclesiastical concerns. In 1342, the commons reorganized itself as the House of Commons, deliberating separately from the king, nobles and higher clergy of noble status. Each county had two Knights of the Shire as representatives, except for Durham and Cheshire, which were county palatines. Initially, the Knights of the Shire were selected from among the Knight Bachelor, belted knights.


= Yeoman vs husbandman

= * Anthony Wagner, Sir Anthony Richard Wagner, Garter Principal King of Arms, wrote that "a Yeoman would not normally have less than 100 acres" (40 hectares) "and in social status is one step down from the Landed gentry, but above, say, a husbandman". Often it was hard to distinguish minor landed gentry from the wealthier yeomen, and wealthier husbandmen from the poorer yeomen.


1500-1600

* As some yeomen overlapped into the newly emerging gentry through wealth and marriage; others merged with the merchants and professions of the towns through education; some became local officials in the counties; and still others maintained their original identity as farmers * Yeomen were often constables of their parish, and sometimes chief constables of the district, shire or hundred (division), hundred. Many yeomen held the positions of bailiffs for the High Sheriff or for the shire or hundred. Other civic duties would include churchwarden, bridge warden, and other warden (disambiguation), warden duties. It was also common for a yeoman to be an Supervisor, overseer for his parish. Yeomen, whether working for a lord, king, shire, knight, district or parish, served in localised or municipal police forces raised by or led by the
landed gentry The landed gentry, or the ''gentry'', is a largely historical British social class of landowners who could live entirely from rental income Renting, also known as hiring or letting, is an agreement where a payment is made for the temp ...
. Some of these roles, in particular those of constable and bailiff, were carried down through families. Yeomen often filled ranging, roaming, surveying, and policing roles. In districts remoter from landed gentry and burgess (title), burgesses, yeomen held more official power: this is attested in statutes of the reign of Henry VIII of England, Henry VIII (reigned 1509–1547), indicating yeomen along with knights and
squire Starting in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the peop ...
s as leaders for certain purposes.


Yeoman farmer

* In the United States, yeomen were identified in the 18th and 19th centuries as non-slaveholding, small landowning, family farmers. In areas of the Southern United States where land was poor, like East Tennessee, the landowning yeomen were typically Subsistence agriculture, subsistence farmers, but some managed to grow crops for market. Whether they engaged in subsistence or commercial agriculture, they controlled far more modest landholdings than those of the Planter (American South), planters, typically in the range of 50–200 acres. In the Northern United States, practically all the farms were operated by yeoman farmers as family farms. * Thomas Jefferson was a leading advocate of the yeomen, arguing that the independent farmers formed the basis of Republicanism in the United States, republican values. Indeed, Jeffersonian Democracy as a political force was largely built around the yeomen. After the American Civil War (1861–1865), organizations of farmers, especially the The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, Grange, formed to organize and enhance the status of the yeoman farmers.Thomas A. Woods, ''Knights of the Plow: Oliver H. Kelley and the Origins of the Grange in Republican Ideology'' (2002)


18th-19th century meanings


The Yeomanry

During the 1790s, the threat of French Revolutionary Wars, French invasion of Great Britain appeared genuine. In 1794, The British Volunteer Corps was organized for home defense, composed of local companies of part-time volunteers. Their cavalry troops became known as the Yeomanry Cavalry. The infantry companies were disbanded by 1813, as the threat of Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon Bonaparte's invasion evaporated. However, the Yeomanry Cavalry was retained. They were used to quell the Revolt of the housewives, food riots of 1794-95 and break up History of trade unions in the United Kingdom#18th-19th centuries, workers' strikes during the 1820s-1840s, as part of their mandate was to maintain the King's Peace. The rise of History of law enforcement in the United Kingdom, civilian police forces during this same period (the Metropolitan Police Act 1829, 1829 Metropolitan Police Act, the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, 1835 Municipal Corporations Act, and the County Police Act 1839, 1839 Rural Constabulary Act) replaced the Yeomanry Cavalry as an instrument of law enforcement. In 1899, the Yeomanry Cavalry were deployed overseas during the Second Boer War, after a Black Week, series of devastating British Army defeats. In 1901, the Yeomanry Cavalry formed the nucleus of the new Imperial Yeomanry. Eight years later, the Imperial Yeomanry and the Volunteer Force were combined as the Territorial Force.


United States Navy

The Continental Navy was established by the Continental Congress in 1775. The legislation called for officers, warrant officers, and enlisted men. The roster of enlisted men was left open to each ship captain to fill as he deemed necessary. After the Treaty of Paris (1783), Treaty of Paris, the Navy was considered unnecessary by Congress, and it was disbanded in 1785. The surviving ships were sold off. The US Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 14) granted the new US Congress the power to build and maintain a navy. It wasn't until 1794, when the worsening US relations with Great Britain and France, as well as the continuing attacks by Barbary pirates, forced Congress to appropriate funds to construct 6 frigates. The US naval hierarchy established followed the precedent set by the British Royal Navy. To which the US Navy added Petty Officers, which included the jobs traditionally assigned to naval yeomen. The first US Navy yeomen were ''Yeoman of the Gunroom'' and the ''Captain's Clerk''. Petty officers were appointed by the ship's captain, and served at his pleasure. They did not retain their rank when they moved to another ship. As the US Navy transformed from sail to steam, and from wood to steel, the yeoman's duties gradually changed to more administrative tasks. The ''Gunner's Yeoman'' was eliminated in 1838, the ''Boatswain's Yeoman'' in 1864, the ''Engineer's Yeoman'' and the ''Equipment Yeoman'' in 1893. The ''Captain's Clerk'' of 1798 became a Yeoman in 1893. Which makes today's Yeoman a descendant of one of the original rates and ratings in the US Navy.


Late Middle/Early Modern English Literature

The previous section on #Historical Meanings, Historical Meanings described just how little was recorded in the contemporary documents of that time about the yeomen. Until the 16th century, yeomen were mentioned either as servants in Norman French-speaking aristocratic households, or as members of the English army or navy in the Anglo-Norman kings' military expeditions across the English Channel. It was not until Middle English became England's official language during the 14th century and the new social stratum of yeoman freeholders gained respectability during the 15th century, that the oral ballads repeated by previous generations of English-speaking yeomen were written down and distributed to a wider audience. The best-known ballads were about the yeoman outlaw Robyn Hode (Robin Hood, in modern spelling). A. J. Pollard, A J Pollard, in his book ''Imagining Robin Hood: The Late Medieval Stories in Historical Context'', proposed that the first Robin Hood was a literary fiction of the 15th and early 16th centuries. This does not mean that Pollard claims that Robin Hood was ''not'' historical. He considers that what modern popular culture ''thinks'' it knows about Robin is actually based upon how previous generations over the last 500 years have viewed him. The historical Robyn Hode was (or were, in the case of there possibly being several men whose exploits were melded into the single individual of the ballads) is of secondary importance to his cultural symbolism for succeeding generations. In his review of Pollard's book, Thomas Ohlgren, one of the editors of the University of Rochester's ''The Robin Hood Project'', agreed with this assessment. Because ''A Gest of Robyn Hode'' is a 16th-century collective memory of a fictional past, it can also be seen as a reflection of the century in which it was written. Following in the footsteps of Pollard and Ohlgren, this section examines some of the literature written in Late Middle English and Early Modern English to explore how the historical Yeoman was slowly transformed by succeeding generations into a legend for their own times.


''A Gest of Robyn Hode''

Rhymes (ballads) of Robin Hood were being sung as early as the 1370s. William Langland, the author of ''Piers Plowman'', has Sloth say that he does not know his ''Pater Noster'' (Latin for the ''Our Father'' prayer) as perfectly as the priest sings it, but he does know the rhymes of Robin Hood. Unfortunately, the rhymes that William Langland heard have not survived. The earliest surviving ballads are ''Robin Hood and the Monk'' (dated to 1450) and ''Robin Hood and the Potter'' (dated to about 1500). Note that all three works were written in Middle English, which was spoken by the common people. Norman French had been the official language since the Norman Conquest, and Latin was used by the Catholic Church. But Norman French was as unknown to the commoners as was Church Latin. The Pleading in English Act 1362, Pleading in English Act of 1362, which allowed the English language to be spoken in law courts, had been passed barely a decade before ''Piers Plowman''. Middle English#Late Middle English, Chancery Standard English was introduced as the official language of the English Court in 1417, just 1 or 2 generations before the earliest surviving manuscript of ''Robin Hood and the Monk''. These earliest Robin Hood ballads are witnesses to the rise of Middle English and the decline of Norman French in England. The oldest copies of ''A Gest of Robyn Hode'' that have survived are print editions from between 1510 and 1530. This is some 30–60 years after ''Robin Hood and the Monk'' and ''Robin Hood and the Potter''; and between 80 and 130 years after the Robin Hood rhymes were circulating in oral form. Therefore, as many as four or five generations had passed before they were written down as ballads in manuscript form. :Lithe and listen, gentlemen, :That be of freeborn blood; :I shall you tell of a good yeoman, :His name was Robin Hood. :Robin was a proud outlaw, :Whiles he walked on ground; :So courteous an outlaw as he was one :Was never none found. ::(modernized spelling) (modern translation from glossary notes) The opening line calls the audience "gentlemen". Stephen Knight and Thomas Ohlgren suggest that the "Gest" audience was a literate audience interested in political resistance. This interpretation appears to be supported by the rise of the new social class of yeoman discussed #Social Class of Small Freeholders, above. Compare the ''Gest'' opening with the opening of ''Robin Hood and the Potter'': :Harken, good yeomen, :Comely, courteous, and good, :One of the best that ever bore bow, :His name was Robin Hood. :Robin Hood was the yeoman's name, :That was both courteous and generous; :For the love of Our Lady, :All women honored him. :: (modernized spelling) (modern translation from glossary notes) Here the audience were yeomen, and yeoman Robin is being described with ''knightly'' virtues of courtesy (good manners), goodness, generosity, and a devotion to the Virgin Mary. (link back to chivalry section) Thomas Ohlgren considers this shift as indicative of the social changes the yeoman class was undergoing. In the ''Gest'', Robin is an ''outlaw'', someone who has been summoned to appear before a court, but never responded. Being ''proud'' implies Robin considers the charges being brought against him as being of little importance. Nevertheless, Robin is the King's Man: :"I love no man in all the world :So well as I do my king;" :: (spelling modernized) (modern translation from glossary notes) King Edward (most probably Edward III) searches for Robin throughout Lancashire, looking far and near. The King is persuaded to disguise himself as a monk carrying the King's Seal. Robin encounters the King and his party in the forest, is shown the seal, and invites the disguised Edward to a feast - which features the King's own deer as the main course. During the sport archery contest afterwards, Robin suddenly recognizes Edward. He kneels to offer homage, asking for mercy for himself and his men. Edward grants his pardon and invites Robin to come work for him. Robin agrees, and offers 143 of his men as a retinue. This last gesture is reminiscent of the contracted indenture offered by Edward III, where pardons were granted for war service. Robin is behaving as a commander of men (see #Yeo Arch, Yeoman Archers). It is interesting that this small detail had been preserved through the oral tradition to be captured in written form in the ''Gest''.


Chaucer's ''Canterbury Tales''

Geoffrey Chaucer, Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales include several characters described as yeoman, shedding light on the nature of the yeoman in the late 14th century when the work was written.


General Prologue: The Yeoman

In the ''General Prologue'', Chaucer describes The Yeoman as being the only servant The Knight wanted on the pilgrimage. From the way he was dressed, Chaucer supposes he is a Forester#Medieval foresters, forester. The man is wearing a green tunic#Germanic tunic, tunic and Hood (headgear)#History and description, hood. His hair is closely-cropped, his face is tan and weather-beaten, and his horn is slung from a green Baldric#In literature and culture, baldric. The Yeoman is well-armed. He carries a "mighty bow" in his hand with a sheaf of arrows hung from his belt. Chaucer points out that the peacock feather fletching was well-made. The archer obviously took great care when making his arrows. He also carries a sword, a buckler, and a small dagger. (Note the similarity between this yeoman's accoutrements and those of the #Yeo Crown, Yeomen of the King's Crown.) The forester's final protection is a medal of Saint Christopher, the patron saint of travelers. Chaucer's description of a forester is based upon his experiences as a deputy forester of North Petherton Park in Somersetshire. The very first line of The Yeoman's description is the statement the Knight wanted no other servant. Kenneth J Thompson quoted Earle Birney as saying that a forester was the only attendant the Knight needed; he was a "huntsman-forester, knight's bodyguard, squire's attendant, lord's retainer, king's foot-soldier". The forester's job was to protect the ''vert and venison'' - the deer and the Royal forest they inhabited. The foresters not only discouraged poaching, but provided winter feed, and cared for newly born calves. The medieval English foresters also provided basic woodland management by preventing unauthorized grazing, and illegal logging. Another function of the forester was assist the King's Huntsmen in planning the Medieval hunting, royal hunts. The foresters knew the game animals, and where to find them. When his lord was campaigning in wartime, the forester was capable of providing additional meat for the lord's table. During the 1358-60 campaign in France, Edward III had 30 falconers on horseback, and 60 couples (or pairs) of hounds. The Yeoman has his "mighty bow" (most probably a longbow) at the ready, implying he is on duty serving as bodyguard against highwaymen and robbers. He carries a sheaf of arrows under his belt, which implies an Quiver#Arrow bag, arrow bag suspended from his belt. Chaucer's description of The Yeoman has been interpreted as an iconography, iconographic representation of the dutiful servant, diligent and always ready to serve. In other words, the very picture of #Yeo Serv, yeoman service. Thompson quotes an interesting excerpt from the St Mary's Abbey, York#The Anonimalle Chronicle, Anonimalle Chronicle. It is part of the description of King John II's journey to London, after he had been captured by the Black Prince at the Battle of Poitiers: :"On their way through England, the King of England aforesaid caused many lords and other people of the countryside to meet them, in a forest, dressed in coats and mantles of green. And when the said King of France passed through the said forest, the said men showed themselves in front of the King of France and his company, like robbers or malefactors with bows and arrows and with swords and bucklers; and the King of France marveled greatly at the sight, asking what manner of men these were. And the prince answered that these were men of England, forest-dweller, living as they pleased in the wild; and it was their custom to be arrayed thus every day." The encounter was obviously some political posturing staged by Edward III for the benefit of the French king. It displayed the opposition the French army would face should the King decide to invade England.


The Friar's Tale

In the tale told by the Friar, the devil assumes the disguise of a yeoman dressed in a green tunic, a hat with black fringes, and carrying a bow and some arrows. The devil meets a summoner on his rounds. The tale continues as a scathing condemnation of the vile corruption of the summoner, whom the devil eventually takes to hell: :"And with that word this foul fiend seized him; :Body and soul he with the devil went :Where summoners have their heritage."


The Canon's Yeoman's Prologue

Chaucer constructed this tale quite differently than the other ones. The Canon (priest), Canon and his Yeoman are not part of the original party. They are introduced when the group reaches Boughton under Blean, only 5 miles from Canterbury. From the top of Boughton Hill, those traveling along the Pilgrim's Way from London can see the towers of Canterbury Cathedral for the first time. This close proximity to Canterbury makes the entrance of the Canon and his Yeoman suspicious. Even more suspicious is the sudden exit of the Canon, leaving his Yeoman to tell the tale himself. Two Chaucerian scholars have different but complementary interpretations, and neither concern a satire on alchemy. Albert E Hartung proposes that the ''Canon's Yeoman's Prologue'' is a device to include a previously-written story into ''the Canterbury Tales'' as the ''Pars Secunda''. Jackson J.Campbell proposes the interruption of the pilgrims' journey by the Canon and his yeoman so near to Canterbury is a device to prepare for the Parson's Tale, which is actually a sermon. Both interpretations place importance on the characterization of the Yeoman. Hartung proposes that the real reason the Canon rode so fast and so hard to join the pilgrims is that he was seeking new victims. The Yeoman urges that it would be to the pilgrims' advantage to know the Canon better; that he is a remarkable man. The Canon knows the secret of turning the road they are traveling upside down, and repaving it with silver and gold. When The Host asks why The Canon is dressed in dirty rags, when he can afford clothes of the finest material, the Yeoman deftly replies that the Canon will never prosper, because his faith will not allow him to enrich himself though his knowledge. The impression that it was time for the Canon and his Yeoman to move on is reinforced by the Yeoman's description of where they lived: :"In the outskirts of a town," said he, :"Lurking in hiding places and in dead-end alleys, :Where these robbers and these thieves by nature :Hold their private fearful residence, ..." (lines 657-660) At this point the Canon reins his horse in beside his Yeoman, demanding that he not reveal any secrets. The Host dismisses the Canon's threats as mere bluster, and the Canon gallops away. The Yeoman's reaction implies that he may have hoped that this would happen. It was the Yeoman who noticed the Pilgrims leaving the hostelry that morning, and informed the Canon. At this point, at the beginning of the ''Prima Pars'' ("First Part"), Campbell draws attention to the Yeoman's manner of speaking. He notes that the Yeoman rambles on impulsively in an unorganized fashion. His speech is full of Free association (psychology), free association and stream of consciousness.(p 174, 176) Seeing the Canon ride off unleashes a torrent of inventive against the Canon - and against himself. He sorrowfully remembers when his face was fresh and ruddy; now it is the color of lead. He used to wear fine clothing and have "splendid furnishings", now he wears a legging on his head. When their experiments failed to convert one gold coin into two, he borrowed the gold to pay the customer. Campbell describes the self-revulsion felt by the Yeoman for the futility of alchemy, and the deception and dishonesty employed while searching for the philosopher's stone. He hates it, but is fascinated by it at the same time. Hartung agrees that Chaucer is presenting the pursuit of the philosopher's stone as an affliction He contrasts the Yeoman's Canon in the ''Prima Parta'' with the charlatan alchemist in the ''Pars Secunda'' ("Second Part") of the ''Yeoman's Tale''. Huntung proposes that this part of the Tale was composed for an audience of clergymen. The alchemist is compared with the devil, and the "worshipful canons" who pursue the study of alchemy are no better than Judas, who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. But the tirade is not against alchemy itself. The penitent Yeoman reinforces the overall theme of Christian pilgrimage, pilgrimage, with its emphasis on repentance, and Forgiveness#Christianity, forgiveness. Chaucer is preparing the reader (or listener) for the ''Parson's Tale'', which a sermon about penitence, "which can not fail to man nor to woman who through sin has gone astray from the right way to Jerusalem celestial".


Shakespeare's ''Henry V''

The initial performance of William Shakespeare, William Shakespeare's Henry V was in 1599. The focus of the play was the Battle of Agincourt, which had occurred 184 years before. It is a rousing patriotic play, but it was also propaganda. Elizabeth I sat upon a shaky throne. The Catholic threat from Spain and at home, war with Spain, concern over who she would marry, concern over the succession. The Nine Years War was underway. The English army had suffered defeat by the Irish at the Battle of the Yellow Ford in 1598. Elizabeth and her counsellors were preparing an invasion in 1599. However, her Privy Council was no longer composed of her most trusted advisors. Most of them - Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, Sir Francis Walsingham, and Sir Christopher Hatton had died by 1591. William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley died in 1598. The council was split between Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, Robert Cecil (Burghley's son) and Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, who were locked in a bitter rivalry. In 1599, Elizabeth was 66 years old, and Elizabeth I#Later Years, her personal power was waning. She could not prevent the execution of her personal physician, Roderigo Lopez on a false charge of treason brought by the Earl of Essex. In spite of his irresponsibility, the Earl of Essex Essex in Ireland#Appointment of Essex, was appointed Lord Lord Lieutenant, and given command of the 16,000-man Irish invasion force. Shakespeare wrote Henry V to rally support for the Ireland invasion. The play followed naturally after his Henry IV, Part 2, written between 1576 and 1599. Henry's victory at Agincourt in spite of overwhelming odds was the perfect plot. Henry V (play)#Criticism and analysis, Shakespeare presented Henry's invasion of France and his Agincourt victory in all its complexity. The play can be interpreted either as a celebration of Henry's military skill, or as an examination of the moral and human cost of war. :Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, :Or close the wall up with our English dead! :... ::And you, good yeomen, :Whose limbs were made in England, show us here :The mettle of your pasture. Let us swear :That you are worth your breeding, which I doubt not, :For there is none of you so mean and base :That hath not noble luster in your eyes. :I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, :Straining upon the start. The game's afoot. :Follow your spirit, and upon this charge :Cry “God for Harry, England, and Saint George!” ::- Act 3, scene 1, lines 26-37 In this rousing call to action, Henry urges his yeomen to show the French what fine bowmen are raised in England. His yeomen are not "mean and base", but possess a "noble luster" in their eyes. "Unto the breach, dear friends, once more", he almost pleads. The yeomen have been besieging Harfleur for over a month; they are suffering from dysentery. "Follow your spirit" and charge, Henry commands. But Shakespeare's St Crispin's Day Speech, ultimate speech comes on 25 October: :This story shall the good man teach his son, :And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by, :From this day to the ending of the world, :But we in it shall be rememberèd— :We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; :For he today that sheds his blood with me :Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile, :This day shall gentle his condition; :And gentlemen in England now abed :Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, :And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks :That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day." ::- Act 4, scene 3, lines 58-69 Henry now calls his army a "band of brothers". The camaraderie of combat has made gentlemen of them all. When they hear a veteran speak of what happened on St Crispin's Day, "gentlemen in England" will be ashamed of being asleep in bed at the time such deeds were done.


19th Century Romanticism


Sir Walter Scott

''Ivanhoe'' was Sir Walter Scott, Sir Walter Scott's first novel about English, rather than Scottish, history. Set in 12th century northeast England, it started the Medieval revival of the 19th century. Raised in the Scottish Borders by a historically-minded family, Scott was familiar with local traditions and tales. Medieval ruins still scattered the landscape. According to William Simeone, ''Ivanhoe'' was "...an historical reconstruction of 12th century England in the spiritual image of the 19th." It was a device to explore the struggle between good and evil as the struggle between Anglo-Saxons and their Norman overlords shortly after the Norman conquest of England, Conquest. Scott's focus is on the ordinary people, not the nobility. His message is that ordinary people had an important role to play in making a new nation. It is not until Chapter VII, at the Tournament of Ashby, that Scott presents his first closeup view of his yeoman hero. And the influence of Chaucer's Knight's Yeoman is clearly evident: "... a stout well-set yeoman, arrayed in Lincoln green, having twelve arrows stuck in his belt, with a baldric and badge of silver, and a bow of six feet length in his hand, turned short round, and while his countenance, which his constant exposure to weather had rendered brown as a hazel nut ..." In Chapter XI, Scott shows his hero in action as the Captain of the outlaws who waylay Gurth on his way back from Isaac of York. Feeling Rebecca's gold through the pouch, he demands of Gurth how he came by the coins. Gurth tells of the exploits of his master, the Disinherited Knight, who defeated five knights that day in single combat. The Captain looks inside the pouch and verifies Gurth's story by the Hebrew characters on Rebecca's bag. :"The errant knight, his master, must needs pass us toll-free. He is too like outselves for us to make booty of him ..." :"Like us? ..." :"Why, thy fool," answered the Captain, "is he not poor and disinherited as we are? -- Doth he not win his substance at the sword's point as we do? -- Hath he not beaten Front-de-Boeuf and Malvoisin, even as we would beat them if we could? Is not the enemy to life and death of Brian de Bois-Gilbert, whom we have so much reason to fear?"(p 186-87) Note how Scott has replaced Robin Hood's traditional villains with new ones - the Knights Templar and the Knights of Saint John, who are allied with Prince John. One among the company is unsatisfied: the Miller. The Captain suggests a quarterstaff contest between Gurth and the Miller. If Gurth wins, he goes free with all his money. If he loses, the Captain will pay Gurth's ransom to the company out of his own ill-gotten gains.(p 187) Thus Scott works in the quarterstaff duel recounted in so many Robin Hood ballads. Note that the Captain is not autocratic; he leads through consensus. When the Miller finally lies prostrate on the ground, the company shouts: "Well and yeomanly done!" "... fair play and Old England for ever! The Saxon hath saved both his purse and his hide, and the Miller has met his match." The great archery contest occurs in Chapter XIII. The contest is recounted in the early ballads. In ''The Gest of Robin Hode'', it is Little John who competes, while in ''Robin Hood and the Peddler'', it is Robin himself. Both must disguise themselves. Scott has his yeoman hero declare his name to Prince John: Locksley. After the preliminary round (in which Locksley did not compete), Hubert, the forester of Malvoisin, was declared victor. Prince John, sneering, asks Locksley if he will compete against Hubert, or lose his bow, quiver, and baldric. Locksley agrees, provided that Hubert shoots at Locksley's target. John accedes. Thus occurs one of the most iconic scenes of the Robin Hood legends: splitting the arrow. Which Scott improves upon by having Locksley set up his target, "such a mark as is used in the North Country", a willow wand scarely thicker than a man's thumb. "... he that hits that rod at five-score yards, I call him an archer to bear both bow and quiver before a king, an it were the stout King Richard himself." Hubert declines to shoot, saying he can barely see the wand. Locksley takes careful aim, releases his arrow, and split the wand at 100 yards (300 feet). Locksley has established himself as a super-hero. In amazement, John offers him a bonus to join his yeoman body guard. "Pardon me, noble Prince," said Locksley, "but I have vowed, that if ever I take service, it should be with your royal brother, King Richard." He gives his prize money to Hubert, takes the prize horn, and disappears into the crowd. But the archery contest was only a device to establish Locksley's legitimacy as a leader of men. In Chapter XXXI, for which Scott uses Shakespeare's speech "Once more unto the breach..." (see Henry V above) as a header. Together, the Black Knight, with his tactical battle skills, and Locksley, with his archers, storm Front-de-Boeuf's castle. Aided by the yeomen of the countryside, they capture the fortress. Locksley has just one duty left - to save the Black Knight in Chapter XL. Waldemar Fitzurse, Prince John's closest advisor, attempted to ambush and kill the Black Knight. Before leaving the Trysting Tree, Locksley had forced the Black Knight to accept the silver prize horn. 3 blasts on the horn would bring Locksley's men to his aid. The Black Knight would take Wamba as his only companion. When Fitzurse's men attacked, Wamba blew 3 blasts on the horn. Locksley himself responded. (No doubt he was trailing the Knight at a discreet distance.) As the Black Knight sends Fitzurse into exile, Locksley says: :"But that I judge I listen to a voice whose behests must not be disputed ..." :"Thou bearest an English heart, Locksley," said the Black Knight, "and well dost judge thou are the more bound to obey my behest -- I am Richard of England!" :At these words, pronounced in a tone of majesty suited to the high rank, and no less distinguished character of Coeur-de-Lion, the yeoman at once kneeled down before him, and at the same time tendered their allegiance, and implored pardon for their offences. ... :"Arise, my liegemen, and be good subjects in future. -- And thou, brave Locksley --" :"Call me no longer Locksley, my Liege, but known me under the name, which, I fear, fame hath blown too widely not to have reached even your royal ears. -- I am Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest."


Howard Pyle

Howard Pyle, Howard Pyle's contribution to the Robin Hood revival of the 19th century was his richly illustrated children's book ''The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood''. Pyle is the author who first portrayed Robin as a kind-hearted outlaw who "robs from the rich to give to the poor". Each chapter covered one of the Robin Hood tales and the chapter sequence was arranged to present a coherent narrative. The resulting storyline was reused in early films such as ''Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood'' and Errol Flynn's ''The Adventures of Robin Hood''. Pyle's characters use a manner of speaking that has since become familiar as a sort of Middle English dialect. Here is part of the exchange between Robin and the Butcher: :"I go to the market at Nottingham Town to sell my beef and my mutton," answered the Butcher. "But who art thou that comest from Locksley Town?" :"A yeoman am I, good friend, and men do call me Robin Hood." :"Now, by Our Lady's grace," cried the Butcher, "well do I know thy name, and many a time have I heard thy deeds both sung and spoken of. But Heaven forbid that thou shouldst take ought of me! An honest man am I, and have wronged neither man nor maid; so trouble me not, good master, as I have never troubled thee." The conversation is reminiscent of the conversation between Robin and the Potter described #Rob Hood, above.


Gilbert and Sullivan

The Tower Warders are featured in an 1888 Savoy Opera written by W.S. Gilbert, Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, Sullivan. ''The Yeomen of the Guard'' is set in the Tower of London during the 16th century. ''Ivanhoe'' was transformed into grand opera by Sullivan and Julian Sturgis, who was recommended by Gilbert. It debuted in 1891, and ran for 155 consecutive performances.


See also

* Churl * Franklin (class) * Plain Folk of the Old South


References


Further reading


Edward I

* *


Hundred Years War

* *


English Navy

* * * Robert C. Allen, Allen, Robert C. ''Enclosure and the Yeoman'' (1992) Oxford U. Press 376p. * Broad, John. "The Fate of the Midland Yeoman: Tenants, Copyholders, and Freeholders as Farmers in North Buckinghamshire, 1620–1800", ''Continuity and Change'' 1999 14(3): 325–347. * Campbell, Mildred. ''The English Yeoman'' * Genovese, Eugene D. "Yeomen Farmers in a Slaveholders' Democracy", ''Agricultural History'' Vol. 49, No. 2 (April 1975), pp. 331–34
in JSTOR
antebellum U.S. * Hallas, Christine S. "Yeomen and Peasants? Landownership Patterns in the North Yorkshire Pennines c. 1770–1900", ''Rural History'' 1998 9(2): 157–176. * Vinje, Victor Condorcet: ''The Versatile Farmers of the North; The Struggle of Norwegian Yeomen for Economic Reforms and Political Power, 1750–1814'' (2014).


External links

{{Wikisource1911Enc, Yeoman


''The Soldier in Later Medieval England''
::online database of all known service records from 1369 until conclusion of Hundred Years War in 1453 Yeomen, History of the British Isles Agriculture in England Agriculture in the United States Agricultural occupations Domestic workers Farmers Land tenure Middle class Social class in the United Kingdom Social class in the United States Robin Hood History of archery 13th-century neologisms