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AS TO THE MEANING OF THE WORD 'FARM.' Coke says' . By the name of ferme or fearme houses, lands, and tenements may pass and firma is derived from the Saxon word feormian to feed or relieve -for in ancient times they reserved upon their leases cattell and other victual and provision for their sustenance.

Spelman states that customary tenants at will rendered to the lord a certain portion of victuals and things necessary for hospitality, and he goes on to say * This rent or retribution they call feorme, but the word in the Saxon signifieth meat or victuals, and although we have ever since Henry II.'s time changed this reservation of victuals into money yet in letting our land we still retain the name of fearmes and fearmers unto this day.'

Mr. Lewiss says. The word “farm' (A.S. Feorm) is from the Latin firma and meant originally an oath of fealty, whence it came to signify the measure of food or provisions rendered by the tenant as his fealty rent and afterwards the land held at and under such fealty and rent.'

Mr. John Kemble in a letter to Mr. Woodman says 'Fearme is from feorm and by no means from the Latin firmus.'

The editor of the Dict. Universal (Paris, 1721) after reviewing the above suggested derivations, adds . It is more probable that the word comes from ferma, which in the Celtic or Bas-Breton signifies a letting and fermi signifies to let.' Turning to the Dict. Breton-Français of Le Gonidec we find that ferm in the Bas-Breton means a letting, or the price of a letting, and fermer is the Bas-Breton spelling and pronunciation of the French word fermier. Le Gonidec quotes the following Bas-Breton sentence :—Chetu ann ti em euz fermet' as meaning "There is the house which I have hired.' Dr. Nicholas in his Pedigree of the English People' points out the close relationship of the inhabitants of Brittany in France with the Celts of Britain. He says that history relates the conquest of Armorica or Brittany by the Britons and he confirms the correctness of the statement made by M. Emile Souvestre :-“Le bas Breton actuel n'est donc pas un reste de Gaulois, mais de langue Brittannique.'s In Picardy the provincial form of the French word ferme is farme.

In England the term farm in most ancient documents means a rent or letting, and not the reversion or the thing let, and this mode of expression is found down to the surveys of the time of the Commonwealth, e.g., 'the farme of the coalmines of Bebside and Cowpen.” Spelman, however, in his Glossa ry, Title Firma quotes three early instances of its use to designate parcels of the land itself, viz., 'Malmeb in Williel. Rufo. An. 1090, Rex. Will. ecclesias et monasteria fere totius Angliæ in manu sua pastoribus defunctis retinens; gravi omnia depopulatione vastabat et instar firmarum laicis commendabat. Concil. Westmonast. An. Dom. 1127. Episcopi Presbyteros abbates Monachos Priores subjectos firmam

Comm. Litt. p. 54. ? Feuds and Tenures, 15. : Ancient Laws of Wales, 468. · P. 15.

5 Les Derniers Bretons, i. 144. Augmentation Parliamentary Surveys, 1650.

6 Dict. Littré.



tenere inhibeant. Idem Concil. London An. 1237, etc., Constitut. Phil R. Franc. Dedit villam Burgesiam firmas blada molendina, etc., villæ de Guingencampo.'

In the Paston Letters, written in the fifteenth century, where the term frequently occurs, it almost always means the rent or hiring of the land rather than a quantity of land itself, but very early in the sixteenth century the present signification of the term as designating the land itself comes again to the front.

Bishop Latimer in his first sermon before Edward VI., on the 8th March, 1549, says :8 “My father was a yoman and had no landes of his owne onlye he had a farme of iii or iiii pound by yere at the uttermost and hereupon he tilled so much as kepte half a dozen men. He had walke for a hundred shepe and my mother mylked xxx kyne.

He kepte hospitalitie for his pore neighbours and sum almess he gave to the poore and all this he did of the said farme.'

More, in his Utopia,' written in 1515, says : “They have in the countrey in all partes of the shiere houses or fermes builded,' and a frequent use of the word as meaning the lands themselves will be found as well in Shakespeare as in all subsequent writers.

In France the word although used also in the modern English sense is also much more generally used in the sense of a letting, as in the case of a Fermier Generale, while the contractor who lets the chairs at a French church is a Fermier des chaises' and his contract is a 'ferme.'

If the term is derived from the Anglo-Saxon feorm and not from the Celtic ferme, it is strange that we should find the word most generally used in Gallic France, and that it should have its nearest approximate form in the especially Celtic province of that country, whilst there is, I believe, no trace of the use of the word in either its ancient or modern English sense in Germany, Holland, or Scandinavia, from whence the English are supposed to come.

We find from the Boldon Book (Surtees Society edition) that there were in 1183 in Durham county villani and firmarii in the same township, and that the firmarii did not pay so much in money or give so much in labour (App. lxi.). In Hatfield's s

survey the firmarii are called mallmen. In Vinogradoff's Villainage in England, p. 183, et seq., the author examines the status of these mallmen or molmen and states that the word is commonly used in the feudal period for villans who have been released from most of their services by the lord on condition of paying certain rents. 8 Arber's edition, p. 3.

9 Ibid. p. 74.





[Read on the 29th day of March, 1893.] The inscription tells us that a water supply was provided for the Fifth Cohort of Gauls, the Roman garrison of the South Shields fort, in the first year of Severus Alexander (A.D. 222) and while Marius Valerianus was governor in the North of Britain. Its details are of an ordinary character and need but little comment.

1. The Emperor Severus Alexander, of whose reign we have several memorials in Britain, is here described by his full titulature, and his name Alexander has been erased. Both features are extremely common, but it may be worth while to explain why no more than • Alexander' has suffered erasure. The reason is to be found in the fact that the emperors who reigned in the early part of the third century used very similar sets of names : Aurelius, Severus, Antoninus were common to nearly all of them and it is sometimes hard to identify even an unobliterated title. Naturally, then, after their deaths, their enemies often needed to erase only one word in an inscription, in order to obscure the identity of the emperor named, and, in the case of Severus Alexander, this one word was Alexander. There was, perhaps, a further reason for this acting in dealing with this emperor. His reign marked a brief recoil from the military despotism established by Septimius Severus, and when in A.D. 235 he and his energetic mother fell victims to the soldiers, their hatred would naturally be appeased by an erasure which left standing the names that had belonged to his military predecessors. If this was not intended, the coincidence between the erasure and the fact deserves to be noticed merely as a coincidence.

2. Marius Valerianus, governor of the province in which South Shields was situated, is known from two inscriptions of A.D. 221-2,

* For other inscriptions of this reign in Britain see end of this note. For erasures of Alexander, see C.I.L. iii. p. 1117; Wilmanns, 1002, 1004; Dessau, 479, 480, 484, 1356, etc. Any collection of inscriptions will furnish similar instances for Caracalla, Macrinus, and Elagabalus.

found at Chesters and Netherby. He bears two names common in the third century, but nothing further seems to be recorded about him.

3. The cohort garrisoning South Shields is also an old friend. It was in existence as a cohors equitata at least as early as Vespasian's reign (A.D. 69-79); it was in Pannonia in A.D. 84-5 and probably for some years earlier and later, and it may have joined in Trajan's Dacian campaigns, for its tiles have been found in a little Roman fort on the. north bank of the Danube, near one of Trajan's crossing places. We do not know when it moved to Britain, but, as a guess, we may suppose that it came with Hadrian, who appears to have moved one or two other auxiliary regiments from the Danube to Britain. In Britain our cohort is recorded at two places. One inscription mentioning it has been found at Cramond, near Edinburgh, in the ruins of a fort which was possibly connected with the operations of Pius. More definite traces, tiles, an unmistakable though fragmentary

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inscription and some less intelligible leaden seals have been unearthed at South Shields within the last few years, and our new inscription proves that the cohort was in garrison there about A.D. 222. Its subsequent history is unknown.

2 Septimius Severus divided Britain into Inferior (York) and Superior (Chester), but the frontier is unknown, and this inscription (like most others) does not help us. That Marius was a provincial governor and not a mere legionary legatus is proved by the words pro praetore : the legionum legati, though usually expraetors, had neither that title nor the powers it implied. For the Chesters inscription see C. vii. 585 and Lapid. 121, for the Netherby one C. 965 and Lapid. 774.

3 An Aquileian inscription (C. v. 875; Orelli, 3651) mentions one Minicius Italus who began as praefectus coh. v. Gallorum equitatae, was afterwards decorated by Vespasian, and, late in life, was in A.D. 105 otherwise distinguished. For the Pannonian and Dacian evidence see C. iii. p. 855; Ephem. v. p. 93; and Arch. epigr. Mittheilungen, xiv. p. 111. This appears to be a case where we may safely suppose that all the mentions of a cohors v. Gallorum refer to the same cohort, an assumption which is often dangerous.

* Gordon Itin, Sept. p. 116; C. vii. 1083.

Eph. vii. 1003 (inscription), iii. p. 143 and iv. p. 207 (tiles); iv. p. 209 (seals); Arch. Ael. x. 223 et seq. Dr. Hübner (Hermes, xvi. 52 n.) says tiles have also been found at Tynemouth, but this is a mistake.


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