Pictures of Castles

A guide in pictures to medieval castles in England, Wales, Ireland and Europe

 

Yeoman warders aka Beefeaters aka Yeoman of the Guard

Yeoman Wardens where instated by Henry VII in 1485. They where the king's bodyguards and also protected him in battle. George II was the last king to battle and be protected by Yeoman when he fought the French at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743. They also protected the other functionaries in the king's household.

Since the royal family no longer lives at the Tower, the Yeoman warders now perform a far more ceremonial function. They are tour guides but also provide discrete security. Since 1848 all Yeoman are veterans of the marines and army.

Is it Yeoman Warden? or Yeoman of the Guard? or Beefeater?

It is unclear why Yeoman are also known as Beefeaters. Some sources claim Yeoman are called Beefeaters because they received daily meat rations for their duties. Other sources claim that it is derived from the French 'buffetier' which meant "an attendant on the royal buffets" or "guard of the king's food". The French word was Anglicised into buffeters and changed into Beefeaters with time. Another explanation might be that they used to be well fed while most ordinary people where not.

 

To complicate matters even further, Yeoman Warders are often referred to as Yeoman of the Guard. This is actually a corps of Royal Bodyguards.

The confusion about their name isn't helped by the fact that their full and proper title is: 'Yeoman Warder of Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, and Members of the Sovereign's Body Guard of the Yeoman Guard Extraordinary'.

 

Guard posted at Jewel house protecting the crown jewels.