Yeoman could refer to a free man holding a small landed estate, a minor landowner, a small prosperou…

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Yeoman could refer to a free man holding a small landed estate, a minor landowner, a small prosperous farmer (especially from the Elizabethan era to the 17th century), a deputy, assistant, journeyman, or a loyal or faithful servant. Work "performed or rendered in a loyal, valiant, useful, or workmanlike manner", especially work requiring a great deal of effort or labor, such as would be done by a yeoman farmer, came to be described as "yeoman's work". Thus yeomen became associated with hard toil.
Yeoman was also a rank or position in a noble or royal household, with titles such as Yeoman of the Chamber, Yeoman of the Crown, Yeoman Usher, and King's Yeoman. Most of these, including the Yeomen of the Guard, had the duty of protecting the sovereign and other dignitaries as a bodyguard, and carrying out various duties for the sovereign as assigned to his office.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeoman - 28Oct2010

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