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Beef Eater

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Empty Interior (One of the early pieces carved, before they started putting carvings inside.)

Beefeater Synopsis Breviate
A beefeater is a ceremonial guard who oversees the Tower of London in England. The polite term is “Yeoman Warder,” although most people know the members of this iconic body by their nickname. The origins of the term “beefeater” are a bit obscure. Some historians believe that the original Warders may have been partially paid in meats, while others suggest that they have the privilege of eating beef from the Royal Kitchens, and that the nickname may have been a pejorative term applied by jealous locals. In order to serve as a Yeoman Warder, an applicant must have 22 years of service in the British armed forces, along with awards for distinction and good conduct. Positions are very coveted. Beefeaters were originally established in 1485 as King Henry VII's bodyguard. They were charged with the duty of guarding prisoners in the Tower of London and supervising the safety of the Crown Jewels. Today, the modern Yeoman Warders mostly work as guides for the two million visitors who come to the Tower of London annually. One Yeoman Warder, the Ravenmaster, is charged with the care of the six ravens which are housed at the Tower of London. According to legend, the ravens must always reside in the fortress on the banks of the Thames to ensure the future of the Kingdom of England. It is easy to confuse the Yeoman Warders with the Yeoman of the Guard, a ceremonial bodyguard which protects the British monarch. Both bodies wear similar uniforms, require former military service, and perform a number of annual and daily ceremonies which are steeped in British history. The Yeoman Warders, for example, perform a nightly “Ceremony of the Keys” when they lock up the Tower each night, while the Yeoman of the Guard famously search Parliament each year before the opening ceremony. Every beefeater has personal accommodations in the Tower of London as long as he or she serves. In 2007, the first female beefeater joined the elite team of 35 warders.