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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1951 (DOST Vol. II).
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Ferme, n. Also: ferm, feirm, feyrm, fearm. [ME. ferme (c 1300), OF. ferme, med. L. firma. Cf. Firme n. and Farm n.]

1. The condition of (land) being let at a fixed rent. Usu. in the phr. to let (or set) to ferme. 1381 Douglas Chart. 29.
Our systir … has set to ferme till vs … all hir thrid of the landes
1399 Melville Chart. 16.
[I,] Ihone of Maluill, … hes sett and to ferme hes lattin to my lovit cusing … all my part of the lands of … the Myre
1423 Reg. Great S. 11/2.
Be it knawyn … us … til haff set and til ferm lattyn til our lwvit chapellan [etc.]
1464 Peebles B. Rec. 152.
The balyais … has set and to ferm lattyn … the Quhyt Auche … dorand thair willis
1475 Lennox Mun. 104.
To haff sett and to male and ferme lattyn … all and halle my landis of the Hangatschaw
1493 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. 338.
The saide day the aldirman sett and to ferme leytt … the sondais fische

2. The sum or amount payable as rent for land.Frequently a payment in kind, esp. in grain, and sometimes distinguished from a payment in money.sing. 1483 Acta Conc. II. Introd. 133.
That Johne of Craufurd sall … pay … the ferm and cane fowlis of the landis of the Pirrotholme
1485 Acta Conc. 105/2.
Margret grantis that scho set the said landis to the said Thomas for siluer and na ferme
1505 Lanark B. Rec. 14.
Payand yerlii tharfor … vj d. for the Kyngis feyrm
1532 Crim. Trials I. 162.
Ane man, havand … ane hundreth pundis worth of gudis, steilbow and ferm of that ȝere alanerlie except
1551 Hamilton Cat. 98.
Quhay takis ouer sair mail, ouer mekle ferme or ony blake maillis, fra thair tennands
1566 Reg. Cupar A. II. 35.
Payand … fyftyne bollis, ane pec, of gude sufficient bere for thair ferme of the samyn
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. cx. 8.
Sum with deir ferme ar hirreit haill That wount to pay bot penny maill
plur. 1392 Lennox Mun. 47.
To the payment of the fermys in maner beforwrytyn, fermly and sekyrly to do and to pay
1423 (1430) Reg. Great S. 38/2.
The fermys and the frottis in the menetyme tane in the principale some of na maner of waye to be contyt
1456 Hay I. 123/21.
This the resoun for quhy … the lordis takis thair rentis and fermes of thair men and thair tenandis
1489 Acts II. 219/2.
Thir Lordis vnderwrittin to bring in the kingis properte and caswelte siluer, fermez, nolt, wedderis [etc.]
1520 Red. Bk. Menteith II. 370.
All males, fermes, gressumys, mertis, … and all vthir dieweteis … that pertenis … to hir hienes
1552 Soc. Ant. II. 414.
The fermez, teyndis, and caynefoulez aucht & wont to be payit to the abbay
1588 Exch. R. XXI. 321.
The fermes, caynis, customes, and deweties of the croip and yeir of God [1587]
1612 Marischal Coll. Rec. I. 125.
The rest of the fermes of Petmedden shall be imployit for buying of good bookes to augment my bibliothek
c1650 Spalding I. 203.
He … causis mak proclamatioun … commanding all his Majesteis loyall subiectis not to obey the covenanteris maillis, fermes, nor dewteis

b. In phr. to let, or set, for ferme. Cf. sense 1. c1420 Wynt. ii. 367.
In husbandry for ferme … He set thai landys
1446 Reg. Cupar A. I. 125.
Be it kend … vs … to haue set and for ferm to haue lattyn al and syndry our landis of Innerychtny
1502 Curle Coll. (Reg. H.) 27 April.
Ws George … bischop of Dunkeld to haif set and for ferme lettin … al and hale the fermes and teind schawis … of Bonkle and Prestoun
1515 Edgerston Writs MS. (Reg. H.).
The said Walter … setts & for ferme & maill lattis … all & haill half landis of Westir Rariche

c. plur. Sums received from custom dues. 1554 Haddington Treas. Acc.
The fermez of thair small custummis of the trone

3. Grain paid in rent. 1604 Urie Baron Ct. ii.
The peckcaman saill se that na dust be grund amangis his ferme
1634 Ib. 74.
The said day Magnus Milne at the milne of Cowie is ordeanit to sie the ferme cleine sheilit
1636 Misc. Spald. C. V. 225.
It is statuit that ilk miller sall bring in the fermes within thair suckin to the girneris for the crope 1635
1671 Forbes Baron Ct. 283.
It is … ordainit that the haill tennentis … sall mack thair fearm of guid cornes … and be frie of dust or stones

4. The farming out of a tax or impost. 1655 Nicoll Diary 167.
The excyse wes set out in ferme … the fermeris overbidding another

5. Attrib. with corn, land, silver, steding, toun, victuall. See also Ferme bere, Ferme mele. 1547 Misc. Spald. C. V. 309.
The ferme corns of Westwod … of the xlvj ȝeris crop
1484 Acta Aud. 140/1.
To tak inquisicioune … gif the xxxij akiris … be of the ferme landis of the Dronne, or of the cote landis or of the mylnelandis of Dronne
1538 Glasgow Dioc. Reg. I. 112.
Jonat Denistoun is rentalit in sax s. aucht d. of fermeland callit the Hynde land
1562 Liber Dryburgh 300.
Totas et integras terras nostras vocatas lie ferme landis … jacentes in villa et territotio de Myretoun
1527 Liber Aberbr. 479.
Paying yearly … 10s. for ferm silver
1564 Prot. Bk. J. Drummond 55.
Fyve lib. … of thair ferme siluer of Ower Cardeny
1559 Inchcolm Chart. 97.
[They] com … and renuncit and ourgaif the malingis and ferme stedyngis
1609 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 470.
Villas et terras de Fermetoune de Glenkindie
1476 Acta Aud. 48/1.
The withhaldin fra him of xiij chalder … of ferme vittale
1614 Urie Baron Ct. 13.
Abrahame Forfar, being persewit for his ferme victuall of the cropis 1612 and 1613 ȝeiris

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"Ferme n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Dec 2022 <>



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