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yeomen


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A person in late Medieval England qualified by possessing free land of an annual value of 40 shillings to serve on juries, vote for knights of the shire, and exercise other rights. In the 13th and 14th centuries yeomen in England were freehold peasants, but by 1400, as many peasants became richer, all prosperous peasants, whether freeholders or not, as well as franklins (freehold farmers), were called yeomen. In the 15th century some yeoman farmers, leasehold as well as freehold, entered the ranks of the gentry.

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