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What exactly is a "gentleman farmer"

Posted by Lewis on June 10, 2004

In Reply to: What exactly is a "gentleman farmer" posted by Shae on June 09, 2004

: : : in the context of 18th-century France? Is "landowner" anything like a synonym?

: : Yes, although in the UK the term gentleman meant a little more. To be called a gentleman you would need to be:

: : - male, obviously
: : - landowning, or at least to have sufficient private income or funds not to have to work.
: : - respectable. This would involve observing the rules of polite behaviour, not abusing your position of power, etc.

: : For an example from Pride and Prejudice, the hero Darcy, having land, and caring for his unfortunate relatives, is a gentleman. Mr Bennet, having no land but a small private income and is quietly studious, also qualifies. Wickham, the villian, is from a wealthy family but, by seducing a vulnerable wench, doesn't live up to the moral code of decency and is therefore 'no gentleman'.

: provides the following:

: gentleman farmer
: n. pl. gentlemen farmers
: A man of independent means who farms chiefly for pleasure rather than income.

The traditional 'gentleman farmer' would be a person of wealth who has no economic imperative to make a profit from farming, but runs a farm out of interest. Rock stars may often not be 'gentlemen' in the sense of impeccable behaviour, but have often become farmers out of pastoral idealism.