Edward II

A forum to discuss the reign of Edward II and 14th century history
 
HomePortalFAQRegisterLog in

Share | 
 

 Yeoman Defined

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
yeomanrycavalry



Number of posts : 3
Registration date : 2007-10-16

PostSubject: Yeoman Defined   Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:01 am

I have intensely researched the matter of what a Yeoman was during the 14th Cent. and have come to the conclusion that it was a military term. It indicated a position or rank within the royal or noble household. The true origin of the term is lost and best guess would indicate "a follower, or a young retainer". As late as 1400 AD we see the yeoman as a forester in the Canterbury Tales (Knight's Yeoman in the General Prologue, and as well in the Friar's Tale). The yeoman is also a follower or attendant of the Canon (a high ranking church official). It is also mentioned in the Knight's Tale distinguishing yeomen from peasant (yeomen on foot perhaps the indicator that there were yeomen on foot, as well some on horseback). The Reeve's Tale which makes mention of his estate of yeomanry. Robin Hood in the original ballads was a yeoman, and his followers were wight yeomen. The word is also speculated to be a contraction of young man. The origins like I stated are lost in history, but we can certainly see the term widely used in King Edward II's reign. I've come across the term King's Yeoman mostly in this period. When the yeoman became a term associated with farmer is not really known, but it appears more often in the 16th and 17th Centuries more than it does in the Medieval Period.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
elflady

avatar

Number of posts : 74
Age : 46
Location : BUCURESTI, ROMANIA
Registration date : 2007-10-01

PostSubject: Re: Yeoman Defined   Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:46 am

I think the initial meaning was that of free men, as opposed to peasants or servants who were "tied to the land" at the beginning of the Middle Ages. In time, they became some sort of "middle class", either farmers or squires or military men. If the word might indicate a retainer as you said, then it is one who follows his lord of his own free will, rather like an employee, not because he is bound (or asserved) to him, and whose allegiance is chosen rather then imposed. They were not knigths, but they could become if they proved themselves.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Alianore
Admin
avatar

Number of posts : 168
Age : 45
Location : NRW, Germany
Registration date : 2007-09-30

PostSubject: Re: Yeoman Defined   Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:54 am

Welcome to the forum, yeomanrycavalry!

You're absolutely right that the title of 'yeoman' was often used in Ed II's reign - searching the Patent Rolls for 'yeoman' brings up almost 400 results. and 'king's yeoman' over 300. It's interesting to note that Donald of Mar, nephew of Robert Bruce and future earl of Mar, is called 'king's yeoman', as was Rhys ap Gruffydd, who was knighted (though I'm not sure when). Oliver de Bordeaux, who was very high in Ed II's favour, was also a 'king's yeoman'.

_________________
"Sans lui n'estoit rien fait, et par lui estoit tous fait, et le creoit li rois plus que tout le monde." Without him nothing is done and through him everything is done, and the king trusts him more than any other: Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://edwardthesecond.com/
yeomanrycavalry



Number of posts : 3
Registration date : 2007-10-16

PostSubject: Re: Yeoman Defined   Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:28 am

elflady wrote:
I think the initial meaning was that of free men, as opposed to peasants or servants who were "tied to the land" at the beginning of the Middle Ages. In time, they became some sort of "middle class", either farmers or squires or military men. If the word might indicate a retainer as you said, then it is one who follows his lord of his own free will, rather like an employee, not because he is bound (or asserved) to him, and whose allegiance is chosen rather then imposed. They were not knigths, but they could become if they proved themselves.

Looking at the etymological roots of the term, I cannot help but notice a lot of similarities to the hypothesized ancient proto-Germanic 'Gauja'. In Sir Frank Stenton's Anglo-Saxon History he mentions the that Gau- is an equivalent of district or hundred. I can't recall which book or the author but I distinctly remember Germanic social structure was broken down in three divisions something like this - Tribal or Nation, Districts of Freemen Villagers, and then Slaves or Serfs. Given that Gau- is cognate with Ge- meaning district in the Anglo-Saxon tongue, I can't help but wonder how equivalent it is to the term 'Pagus' meaning country or rustic. It almost in a way fits perfectly in what we know the term yeoman to mean. One, is a rustic farmer, a freeman who farms his own smallholding of land. Of the district, perhaps the origins of the manor and in which a yeoman, again, free to chose a lord who he wishes to follow and in return for his service he is paid in chattels, land or fees. I see a yeoman of the country, and a yeoman of the court, both in equal standing on the social ladder though a difference in wealth or prosperity depends on the individual's situation, or circumstances. Whatever the case, he is a freeman, and that is definitely not disputed and I often wonder how this connects to the geneatas as well to the people identified as 'homo libri' during the 'Dark Ages' of England.

study
Back to top Go down
View user profile
yeomanrycavalry



Number of posts : 3
Registration date : 2007-10-16

PostSubject: Re: Yeoman Defined   Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:41 am

Alianore wrote:
Welcome to the forum, yeomanrycavalry!

You're absolutely right that the title of 'yeoman' was often used in Ed II's reign - searching the Patent Rolls for 'yeoman' brings up almost 400 results. and 'king's yeoman' over 300. It's interesting to note that Donald of Mar, nephew of Robert Bruce and future earl of Mar, is called 'king's yeoman', as was Rhys ap Gruffydd, who was knighted (though I'm not sure when). Oliver de Bordeaux, who was very high in Ed II's favour, was also a 'king's yeoman'.

If I am to believe the term as originated from 'Yonge man' or 'Yonger Man', then a serious look needs to be taken at Pseudo Cnut De Foresta Constitution in which is identified 'yonger men homini mediocre' the middling class of young men who are given charge to protect the vert, venison of the forest districts or royal forests. This goes back to around the 11th Century probably during the reign of King Henry III. As he is also known for his famous Assize of Arms of 1252 AD in which the bow (the weapon of the yeoman) is to be trained as well economic standing determined how a person was to be arrayed for warfare. This Assize seems to be a perfect reference to the yeoman of the middle ages. I believe the yeoman can be taken in the context of a follower, a young man, retainer, attendant, servant, etc. with a deep ancestral meaning somehow connected to what we know today with the term. It's trying to bridge that gap between young man, and district man that I find baffling.

study
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Yeoman Defined   

Back to top Go down
 
Yeoman Defined
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
-
» defects liability period
» Finger length re-defined: the 'finger length index'!

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Edward II :: Reign of Edward II :: Fourteenth Century Life-
Jump to: