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The Rocky Mountain Yeomen was formed in July of 2015 by three archers, Joe Miller, Jim Allen-Morley, and Dick Oakes.
Robin Hood, Yeoman Archer
(Adapted from http://robinhode.webs.com)
The word "yeoman" initially described the middle class 'younger men' who were charged with keeping the law in both forest and manor in olde England. The work of yeoman varied depending on the job they were doing. They were to protect the "vert (forest) and venison" for the gentry whether they be lord, king, baron, or knight and were to uphold the law of the manor after the fashion of bailiff or constable having a duty of care towards such places as bridges and the local church.
Then, in 1252, King Henry III required all landowners with an annual income between 40 to a 100 shillings to be armed and trained with a longbow; the first "yeoman archers." The more wealthy yeomen were also required to possess a sword, buckler, and dagger and to be trained in their use. A new class of yeoman farmer came into his own after the Black Death of 1338 to 1350 and although Robin Hood (born Robert Dore of Wadsley, which includes Loxley) had a great deal of respect for the farmer, he is described as a "yeoman archer."
In 1350, Robin was outlawed from Loxley for killing his stepfather at plough. He fled to the Calder Valley where he met Little John (Roger Dodsworth). That year, the period known as "Merrie England" began (it lasted until 1520).
Further development occurred to the word "yeoman" when the vernacular English became the national language around 1363 and the French word "vale" was superseded by the word "yeoman" which came to include such duties as Yeoman of the Chamber, Yeoman of the Crown, Yeoman Usher, King's Yeoman, Yeomen of the Guard, and of course Yeoman Archer, the bow always being the weapon of the forester.
Yeomen archers were described as virtuous, cunning, skillful, courteous, and experts in archery, all of which describes Robin Hood. They acted as porters guarding baggage trains to protect them from robbers and they acted as escorts to the great nobles of the land (including, of course, the king) on their journeys across the realm and across the sea. This may be what Robin was doing when he rode with the King to Nottingham, "shooting arrows as they went."
Because of their military training, John of Gaunt, who was the grandfather of King Henry IV and uncle to King Richard II, retained 1,000 of the 4,500 men-at-arms and 3,000 of the 9,144 archers that composed the royal host. The famous "yeoman archers," drawn from the Macclesfield Hundred and the Forest districts of the Cheshire region, were specially appointed as bodyguard archers for the king.
The uniform of archers associated with royalty is colored Lincoln Green. King Edward II had his men all clothed in Lincoln Green and after his death Roger Mortimer, who ruled England for nearly four years as regent alongside Queen Isabella (the wife of Edward II), did the same. Queen Catherine, the wife of King Henry VIII had her yeomen guard wear Lincoln Green and for traveling they wore grey as described in the Gest of Robin Hood (a "gest" is a tale of adventures). Armed with longbows, Robin Hood and his men wore Lincoln Green and the Gest tells us Robin was in the service of the king.
Robin's most famous accoutrement's, his bow, arrows and horn, were the recognized tools and insignia of the local foresters that distinguished them from other bailiffs. This would be when Robin left the service of the king and set out to build a chapel to Mary Magdalene which is two miles from Robin Hood's Well at Barnsdale.
The Hollywood image of Robin Hood is derived from Geoffrey Chaucer's description of a knight's yeoman in the Canterbury Tales as having a "cropped" head (long hair got caught in the bow string), wearing a coat and hood of green, a sheaf of peacock arrows on his belt, and a mighty bow in his hand. On his arm a bracer (arm band), by his side a sword and a buckler (a small round, metal shield used in hand-to-hand combat), and on the other side, a dagger. He also wore a silver Christopher medal on his breast, a horn, and a green leather baldric (a bag slung over the shoulder).
There was a great plague in 1391 and 12,000 souls died in York alone, buried in a mass grave. This is what may have become of Robin Hood, Yeoman Archer.