Friday, April 29, 2011


Y is for Yeomen in the twentyfifth installment of the Deepest Sea A-Z.

Yeomen are a rank of society between the nobility and the common peasant.  They own land which they derive income from, but are not nobles. In most countries they make up the upper class of villages, together with artisans and petty clergy.  Typically they are more likely to be selected by the baron as a bailiff, or elected by the other peasants as reeve, depending on the system used in that area.  The amount of land owned varies, but is typically more than any one peasant would work, meaning that their family is at least twice as prosperous as a common peasant.

Yeomen typically have military responsibilities to the baron, or to the kingdom.  What this entails varies from area to area, but typically they are required to be trained with a bow, and often have other weapons on hand.  When the baron goes to war, yeomen are required to accompany him, although they are often paid waged for this service, beyond some basic defence of the barony. In Brémdy, where the population is wealthy and many rank as yeomen, some even own armor and horses, and serve as secondary knights, in support of the nobility, who maintain better equipment and horses.  In this role, they are often called "sergeants".   In other kingdoms this term is used for yeomen who lead small groups of men.

In a city, or large town, the term yeoman is not often used, as few own land, and instead all are ranked as burghers together.  Naturally, some are poor, and some are rich, but in general all are wealthier than serfs in the small villages, and all have more cash at hand, even if it is only a few coppers.  One's job, or guild membership becomes more important in determining relative social standing, although this does tend to map out to wealth as well.

The ranks of men:
Indentured man
Free Peasant

Tune in Saturday for the final episode of the Deepest Sea A-Z, with Zagyg.

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