Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BLENCH, BLENSH, BLANCH, BLANK, adj., quasi-n., adv. A Sc. legal term. [blɛnʃ, blɑnʃ]

1. adj. As applied to holding of land: free or involving payment of a merely nominal rent. Sc. 1754 J. Erskine Princ. Law Scot. (1911) 159:
Blench-holding (not unlike the feudum francum of the Lombards) is that whereby the vassal is to pay to the superior an elusory yearly duty, as a penny money, a rose, a pair of gilt spurs, etc., merely in acknowledgment of the superiority, nomine albæ firmæ.
Ags. 1721 Marriage Contract (per Fif.1):
Both the sd. infeftments of the forsaid Annuitys to be Holden in free blench ferme.
Ags. 1931 V. Jacob Lairds of Dun v.:
He paid a silver penny yearly in the name of blench farm to the Earl.

2. quasi-n. Sc. 1707 First Earl of Cromartie in Earls of Crm. (ed. Fraser 1876) II. 31:
I am to send up a signatur for chang[ing] my litle lairdship to blensh.
Sc. 1710 Nairne Peerage Evidence (1873) 45:
Lands to be holden of us . . . in free blench for payment of two pennies Scots money.
Ags. 1728 Private Document (per Fif.1):
A liferent Annuity in favours of the said Mrs M — S — in free Blench for Payment of ane penny Scots Money . . . if the samen be asked allennarly.

3. adv. through ellipsis of in. Sc. 1700 Records Convention Burghs (1880) 299:
Holden few by them of the Marqueis of Douglas and of them blench by the heretor thereof.
wm.Sc. 1710 Descr. Sheriffdom Lnk. and Rnf. (Maitland Club 1831) 51:
The Milnetoun . . . was anciently a part of the baronie of Mauldslie, but heth these many years bygone been holden blanch of the king. [On p. 15 it is spelt blench.]
Sc. 1876–1880 W. F. Skene Celtic Scotland (1890) III. 264:
1880. The thanage of Tannadyce . . . was granted . . . to [him] and the heirs of his body to be held blank for payment of a red falcon.

[O.Sc. blanche (later blenche), used first as adj. with ferme (Lat. firma, a fixed payment in money or in kind), and later with words like land, holding (halding), duty. O.Fr. blanche ferme, white rent, rent paid in silver. See D.O.S.T. s.v. blanche (ferme) and blenche (ferme).]

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"Blench adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Feb 2020 <>



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