blanch farm

1) Possibly a farm where rent was paid in silver instead of in kind or through services.

This term has an Old French origin, and was no doubt brought here by the Normans. The examples of its use that are quoted in reference works date only from the early 1600s, but Latin equivalents such as redditus albus and alba firma show that it was current from the Middle Ages. In York, payment was made in 1500 pro firma diversarum terrarum … vocata Blauncheferm : the literal meaning ‘white rent’ is said to have described payment in silver, as opposed to payment in kind or through services. That may not have been the case in 1535, when the rent of certain lands held by Fountains Abbey was one ‘mark’. There was no coin worth a mark but the noble or half mark was a gold coin. The entry reads domino Regi pro blaunch ferme xiijs iiijd. The irony is that the meaning of blanch farm may have been changing just as the first examples of the English term are on record. In 1680, for example, there was a debate about certain rents and services due to the lord of Woolley manor: a tenant called Roger Clarke was reported as saying that he had heard that the meaning of the words Blanche-farme and Grene-hue is that every farmer is allowed to take radlins for the thatching and mortering of their houses, for which they pay … the sum of 7d yearly. In Scotland blanch farm is said to have been a nominal quit rent, sometimes as a white rose, a pair of gloves or even spurs. In a set of accounts for Brandsby, from 1609, the estate owner referred frequently to his blansh farm or wepentack fyne.

dates 1500 1535 1609 1680

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