A Yeoman Warder tour is one of the most popular attractions for visitors to the Tower.
The ‘Beefeaters’, as they are nicknamed, have long been symbols of London and Britain. It is thought their nickname is derived from their position in the Royal Bodyguard, which permitted them to eat as much beef as they wanted from the king's table.
A detachment of the ‘Yeomen of the Guard’, they’ve formed the Royal Bodyguard since at least 1509. Their origins stretch back as far as the reign of Edward IV (1461-83).
The warders today
Yeoman Warders are required to have served in the armed forces with an honourable record for at least 22 years.
The current contingent of warders have experienced serving in Northern Ireland, the Falklands War, Bosnia, the first and second Gulf conflicts and in Afghanistan.
Today's well-behaved and salaried yeomen warders would no doubt be shocked by the complaint of Sir John Peyton, the Lieutenant of the Tower in 1598, when he declared that some were ‘given to drunkeness, disorders and quarrels’.