1) A branch, or the fork between two branches.
a.1568 solde … certaine trees with certaine graynes which Henry Awdens … did make above xx gangs of whole Tymbre, Pickering
1622 maie not fell no greate granes of okes, Pickering. It was used also of forked implements: in 1527 one pair of Irenforkgreynes was part of the rent in the sale of the manor of Kirkay and in 1628 1 payre of of yron fork graynes, was included in a Pudsey inventory. In 1627, a Lingards man hanged the cur dog upon the grains of a staffe during a dispute with neighbours. It referred particularly to the prongs: 1698 a 3 grande fork, Salterforth
1721 swore he would run him thro’ with a pitchfork, holding the grains towards him, West Riding. As a place-name element it meant ‘river fork’. Smith has examples such as Norhgraine and Clowegraines from the twelfth century, and a charter of 1286 described land as extending usque le Wester Grayne de Wytspotdale, Whisperdales. It survived in this sense in dialect: 1509 the graynes of Edderlay wayter, Cartworth. A shepherd who gave evidence in 1749, in a trial over alleged trespasses in Holmfirth, spoke of the grains in Holm Clough.
2) The seed of cereal plants, corn, often a plural.
1454 graynes herberd in the lathes, Cavil
1508 all maner of graynes that shalbe gotten of the seide graunge, Morker
1529 a close lyenge before the dore of the seide loige for hym to ... sawe [sow] uppon what granes as shall lyke hym beste, Brimham. More specifically the word referred to the kermes or scarlet grains
that is the dried bodies of the female insects which were used in to produce the dye for scarlet-coloured cloths. Customs on cloth exported had been fixed in 1303, and the Hull Customs Rolls which date from 1274-5 contain details of cloth exported sine grano in 1304. In 1305, ‘The Ship of Andrew del Dyk had 1 scarlet and 2 cloths without grain [sine grano] and paid 4s’, Hull. John Lister wrote at length about ‘cloths of the half grain’, the ‘whole grain’ and ‘mixed with grain’ and the importance of the dye is apparent from the fourteenth century: 1354 ‘3s 6d was paid by aliens on ... every cloth of whole grain dyed’, Hull
1374 unam armilansam duplicatam de blueto et sanguineo grained, York
1394-5 et dim. libr. de grayns, Whitby
1410 una cloca de murray in grayne, York.