The Boston Beefeater
The British Beefeaters are a symbol of our country, recognised worldwide for their striking uniforms and important role held in the Tower of London. Chris Clawson is the newest member to join the Yeoman Warders, and he originates from Boston in Lincolnshire…
Our country prides itself on sticking to traditions. Well known uniforms such as the Bearskin Hats of the Palace Guards, the white frills and feathers of the High Sheriffs and the red collars of the Yeoman Warders have become symbols of Britain, and of our capital city.
However, this month a Lincolnshire man dons the red and black stripes of the Yeoman Warder as Chris Clawson from Boston joins the guards at the Tower of London.
In order to qualify as a Yeoman Warder any candidate must be a former Warrant Officer or Senior Non Commissioned Officer having served the minimum 22 years in the Army, Royal Air Force, Royal Marines, Royal Navy and they must hold both the Long Service and Good Conduct medal.
Chris Clawson joins the Tower of London as a Yeoman Warder with flying colours following more than 30 years of distinguished service in the Royal Air Force.
The Yeoman Warders are descended from the ancient band of warders who guarded the gates and royal prisoners, early in the Tower’s history.
Modern Beefeaters are still extraordinary members of the Queen’s Bodyguard. They are all former warrant officers from Her Majesty’s Forces with an honourable service record of at least 22 years.
Today they combine their traditional ceremonial role with a love of history to make the past come to life for visitors, and this is the role Chris Clawson will have in the Tower of London.
Chris is undergoing training over the next few months. By the end of this period, Chris will learn word-for-word The Story – the script of the famous Yeoman Warder Tour – before being allowed to lead a tour himself.
He will also become familiar with each of the 21 separate duties that the Yeoman Warders conduct each and every day.
WHY ARE THEY CALLED BEEFEATERS?
Beefeaters is a nickname for the official title of a Yeoman Warder.
There are various stories about
where it derives from, but these are the most common. Firstly, it’s thought to come from the French word ‘buffetier’ (French guards who guarded the King’s food).
However, Beefeater is more likely to have come from a time when the Yeomen Warders at the Tower were paid part of their salary with chunks of beef. This took place right up until the 1800s.