c. 1300, “attendant in a noble household,” of unknown origin, perhaps a contraction of Old English iunge man “young man,” or from an unrecorded Old English *geaman, equivalent of Old Frisian gaman “villager”…
What is a Yeoman?
For centuries, yeomen were farmers who owned their land. Wikipedia suggests it was once something above a ‘husbandman’ but below the ‘landed gentry’. Many yeomen held positions of authority such as parish constables, bailiffs, wardens or in informal local police forces headed by the gentry. It was perhaps a continuation of the latter sense that the Warwickshire Yeomanry was first formed. For while the militia (volunteer infantry) was disbanded in the wake of the rescinded Napoleonic invasion threat; the yeomanry (volunteer cavalry) were retained, acting to fill the absence of any formal police force. By the end of the 19th century as it supplied men for the war in South Africa, the Warwickshire Yeomanry would be much more representative of the entire community it served, including many local men from poorer or disadvantaged backgrounds. A Yeoman could now be said to represent all social classes.
Progress on my Perry Miniatures Figures:
Meanwhile, my version of an early WYC troop is nearing completion. The first 8 of the 13 yeomanry horses have been completed, their riders mounted and scabbards attached. I’m rather pleased with them. So far, I’ve painted the following horse types; 2 dark bays, 2 bays, 2 blacks, 2 chestnuts. With the remaining 5 horses I intend to add some lighter colours, namely; a couple of greys, some lighter browns and, of course, a dun!
The final batch of 5 figures will carry some carbines too as about a quarter of the Warwickshire Yeomanry were said to be armed with one at that time. I slightly regret the few compromises I’ve had to make on these figures, such as the shorter jackets and the superfluous saddle blankets, etc. Nonetheless, I like to think it’s a very noble effort at recreating something of how the Warwickshire Yeomanry Cavalry might have looked circa early 1800s.