Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Egads. The toils of ignorance are never done. Apparently it was not enough to discover that those Tower of London guardians/tour guides were called the Yeoman Warders. It has now been pointed out to me that I failed to sufficiently explain what yeomen are. There's a perfectly good explanation for this, however--I don't know the answer.
Not quite good enough, though, is it? Well, up to the moment that I was actually questioned on this, I thought I did know. They're strong, stalwart types, a little like Robin Hood's Merry Men, salt of the earth, good archers, wearing tunic and tights...Yeah, I'm starting to make less and less sense to me too. Let's cut to the chase.
Well, the chase is not so easily cut to as all that, it seems. Did you want the short answer or the complete one? The fast and serviceable one is that a yeoman is a.) a freeholder who cultivates his own land, b.) an assistant or subordinate to an official, or c.)an attendant or lesser official in a royal or noble household. Oh, and there's d.) a naval petty officer.
But where does the word come from? Well, no one really knows. Some think it's related to Old English iunge man or 'young man', others to Old English geaman or 'villager'.
But this guy has a different theory. Personally, I like it. It seems to account for the unusual prefix in a less "ingenious" way.
What's the headshot about, you ask? Why, that's Owain Yeoman from "The Mentalist", of course. And no, he didn't pay me anything for the publicity.
At least not yet.