View previous topic | View next topic

Peppercorns

Page 1 of 1

Alexander Howard
1260621.  Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:22 am Reply with quote

When asked 'how much is a peppercorn rent?', I should carry a klaxon with me for anyone who guesses at five pounds a year or so: it is literally one peppercorn a year.

I have never come across any landlord actually demanding payment of the peppercorn (and that is the point) nor any tenant paying it, except in one instance, where they make a bit of a fuss of it, indeed costing more than several crates of peppercorns:

- in Bermuda.

 
crissdee
1260682.  Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:24 am Reply with quote

If you had asked me that question, my answer would have been;

"A nominal sum, something of no meaningful value."

Would you have klaxoned me?

 
GuyBarry
1260728.  Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:59 am Reply with quote

Wikipedia says it's a metaphor for a very small payment, although it does cite examples where actual peppercorns have been used:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peppercorn_(legal)

 
Paul-R
1260749.  Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:40 am Reply with quote

Alexander Howard wrote:
When asked 'how much is a peppercorn rent?', I should carry a klaxon with me for anyone who guesses at five pounds a year or so: it is literally one peppercorn a year.


Peppercorns used to be very expensive. I would not be surprised if, when adjusted for inflation, a "peppercorn rent" turned out to be five pounds or more in modern money.

 
Paul-R
1260752.  Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:45 am Reply with quote

Actual origin of the saying:

In the Middle Ages and Tudor Times rents were sometimes paid in peppercorns because pepper was so expensive. Peppercorns were actually used as a form of currency. They were given as bribes or as part of a bride's dowry.

Citation: http://www.localhistories.org/sayings.html

 
Alexander Howard
1263775.  Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:10 am Reply with quote

I would like to read any source beyond Victorian speculation that peppercorns were so valuable in ancient times.

Someone out there must have records of mediaeval merchant's accounts, like those exhaustively analysed by Adam Smith, showing how much, for example, was paid in the days of Edward I for a sester of wheat, a bushel of barley and a pound of pepper.

 
Jenny
1264003.  Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:46 pm Reply with quote

In 1438-9, when a master craftsman's wages (i.e. a lot more than an ordinary worker might earn) were eight pence a day, a pound of peppercorns cost eighteen pence.

https://www.economics.utoronto.ca/munro5/SPICES1.htm

(You'll have to scroll to the bottom for the tables).

 
Dix
1266965.  Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:56 pm Reply with quote

http://www.bath.ac.uk/news/2007/11/14/peppercorn.html
and
http://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/news/bath-news/skydiver-delivers-university-baths-peppercorn-929458

 
GuyBarry
1266967.  Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:05 pm Reply with quote

I attended the University of Bath Festival in May, and saw the Red Devils' display, though I had no idea they were delivering the rent! (But why has it taken the Bath Chronicle until now to report it?)

 
Dix
1266969.  Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:10 pm Reply with quote

Probably because no-one questioned the cost of the display until now. (and apparently it wasn't peppercorns!)

 
GuyBarry
1266971.  Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:14 pm Reply with quote

Dix wrote:
Probably because no-one questioned the cost of the display until now. (and apparently it wasn't peppercorns!)


Oh, it was a great fun day out for all the local community, and worth every penny as far as I'm concerned. My only complaint is that it didn't last long enough - there were hundreds of events packed into six hours, and it was simply impossible to get round everything I wanted to see. If universities spent more of their money on community events like this, there might be a lot more public support for them.

 

Page 1 of 1

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group