I'm transcribing the Land Tax records (circa 1796-1831) for a set of contiguous parishes in Pembrokeshire (all North of the admittedly mobile "Landsker" line.)

Most of them have amounts 'for the Tythe' and for 'Glebe Land' as I would expect.

However, one parish (so far) -- Little Newcastle/Castell-newydd Bach -- stubbornly records amounts 'for the farm' or 'for the ferm' or 'feren' (transcription is unclear) and does not mention tythes or glebe land. I want to know how to interpret these. It's tempting to assume they're tithe or glebe (or both), but I want to be sure. (Needless to say, a modern Welsh dictionary doesn't help, but neither does Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru (A historic dictionary of the Welsh language)

The multiple entries with this designation overlap by location and proprietor with entries for land tax on specific properties; other parishes record a single amount For the Tythe and for Glebe Land.

The Land tax records are not available on line, but here are some samples of the relevant documents.

Little Newcastle Land tax 1786 Little Newcastle Land Tax 1790

1 Answer 1


There are two spellings here – ferm and fearm – both of which, I suspect are a variant spelling of farm. The term is English, which explains why it does not show in a Welsh dictionary.

A few excerpts from the entry for Farm (n.2) in the Oxford English Dictionary:

  1. A fixed yearly amount (whether in money or in kind) payable as rent, tax, or the like (as opposed to a rent, tax, etc., of variable amount, e.g. one calculated at a certain proportion of the produce). Also rent and farm. Obs.

  2. a. A fixed yearly sum accepted from a person as a composition for taxes or other moneys which he is empowered to collect; also, a fixed charge imposed on a town, county, etc., in respect of a tax or taxes to be collected within its limits.

  3. a. In certain phrases, senses 1, 2 pass into the sense: The condition of being let at a fixed rent; now only with reference to revenue, the condition of being ‘farmed out’. †at, in farm; to have, hold, let, put, set, take, etc., (†in, out or †forth) (to) farm.


  1. a. Originally, a tract of land held on lease for the purpose of cultivation; in mod. use often applied without respect to the nature of the tenure.

We obviously tend to think of the word farm in the fifth sense, but historically it had a more precise meaning in terms of the relationship between the tenant and his land. I am inclined to think that the meaning intended in this particular document aligns with the first definition above.

In the late eighteenth century the tax rate was generally based on the acreage. See The Land Tax Returns by D.B. Grigg for a detailed summary of the land tax.

  • So... why do these entries overlap with the Land Tax payable on the same properties (see entries in first image for Coulstone owned by Mr George Lloyd) and where are the tithe amounts? But good reference material.
    – user6485
    Feb 27, 2018 at 16:02
  • @ColeValleyGirl: In Land Tax records I've looked at, it's not uncommon to see a proprietor listed with his own land, and then again for a parcel occupied by a named tenant. Is it possible that here they just didn't bother naming tenant farmers. and listed them as "for the farm" instead?
    – AndyW
    Feb 27, 2018 at 16:23
  • I'll post all of both images.
    – user6485
    Feb 27, 2018 at 16:24
  • Have posted complete images -- landholders are recorded for their own land as 'His/Her own tenure' separate from the entries in question.
    – user6485
    Feb 27, 2018 at 16:31

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