Yeomen

In England a yeoman was originally a man who owned and farmed his own land. The term later came to be applied to archers and cavalry soldiers recruited from among the nation’s farmers and countrymen. The Yeomen of the Guard was originated in 1485 as a bodyguard for the monarch. Until 1548 their duties included service at the Tower of London. Ever since that date a similar group, called the Corps of Yeomen Warders, has had that specific duty. The Tudor uniforms worn by the two corps are almost identical and this causes the two to be confused. There are those who think Gilbert made that mistake. Goodman (140), however, notes that Gilbert specifies that the opera is set in the sixteenth century. If we assume that the action takes place before 1548, then Gilbert cannot be accused of misnaming the opus. For a complete exposition on the history of the actual Yeomen of the Guard, see Paget (230).

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