A Gest of Robyn Hode: difference between husbandman and yeoman?

#1
In the Gest of Robyn Hode, a distinction is made between a husbandman and a yeoman. I had always equated the two; what's the difference?

Fytte One

But look you do no husbandman harm
That tills with his plough.

No more shall you no good yeoman
That walks by the wood’s green canopy;
 
Feb 2017
197
Devon, UK
#2
In the Gest of Robyn Hode, a distinction is made between a husbandman and a yeoman. I had always equated the two; what's the difference?
Essentially not a lot, in terms of job description, although 'husbandman' can imply a tenant farmer as well as just a farmer. 'Yeoman' is an even more complex term that changed over time. By the mid fifteenth century (the rough date of the 'Gest') it could mean a minor freeholder who was essentially rural middle class although it was also freighted with earlier associations of being 'freeborn' and had certain martial implications besides.
 
Likes: Ichon
Jan 2016
10
Atlanta, GA
#3
In Dr. Ian Mortimer’s book “The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England”, husbandmen and yeomen are only distinguished by their income and land holdings. They were both categories of free tenants, as opposed to serfs, who were unfree.


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Jun 2016
1,835
England, 200 yards from Wales
#4
I agree with those above, there's no great difference though yeoman (especially by the 15th century) probably suggests somehwat higher status.
I believe Yeoman could include upper servants in a noble household, in the country as my Lady says above both were free, maybe it would be true to say that a yeoman might employ a husbandman but not so likely the other way around?

Actually the Geste also distinguishes the yeoman from those above, in a line that is a problem for those who like to gentrify the outlaw. When the knight is asked to pay for his dinner in the forest, Robin remarks that it is unheard of 'that a yeoman should pay for a knight'. (I think that's right, it's from memory, I haven't time now to look it up).
 

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