Gentleman farmer

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In the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada, a gentleman farmer is a landowner who has a farm (gentleman's farm) as part of his estate and who farms as a hobby rather than for profit or sustenance.[1][2]

The Collins English Dictionary defines a gentleman farmer in the United Kingdom as one who is actively involved in farming but does not do it for a living, or a person who happens to own a farm but does not farm it himself (paraphrase). A gentleman farmer of the United States is defined as a rich man who can afford to farm for pleasure, or a rich man who farms not to earn, but because he is interested in it (paraphrase).[3]

The farm can vary from under ten to hundreds or even thousands of acres, and may produce any number of types of grains, poultry, or other livestock. A gentleman farmer employs labourers and may also employ a farm manager, and the farm is usually not the chief source of his income. He generally has his own private income, works in a profession, owns a large business elsewhere, or some combination of the three.[4][5][6][7]

Some notable British gentlemen farmers include: Thomas Shaw-Hellier, director of the British Army's Royal Military School of Music and a breeder of Jersey cattle; William Strickland, 6th Baron Boynton, of Yorkshire, numismatist and author of the Journal of a Tour of the United States of America, 1794–95; the pirate Edward Collier, second-in-command to Sir Henry Morgan during his expeditions in Spain; and the Kent County Cricket Club cricketer Hopper Levett.

American examples include James Roosevelt I, the father of President Franklin D. Roosevelt; Dwight D. Eisenhower, who retired to a farm near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, after leaving the White House; Winthrop Rockefeller, son of John D. Rockefeller Jr., who moved to Arkansas in 1953 and established Winrock Farms on Petit Jean Mountain; James Jefferson Webster, who owned multiple business and served in the Rockingham County local government; Frederick Hinde Zimmerman;[8] Frank C. Rathje; William Locke Allison, known for Allison Woods, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995;[9] and Robert Williams Daniel, a bank executive who survived the sinking of the Titanic and later married Margery Durant, daughter of General Motors founder Billy Durrant, and was elected to the Virginia Senate in 1935. His farm, Brandon, one of the oldest continuous agricultural operations in the United States, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969,[9] and was further declared a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1985.[10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Definition - "Gentleman Farmer"". Oxford University Press. 2016. Archived from the original on 16 September 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2016. A country gentleman who has a farm as part of his estate.
  2. ^ "Definition - Gentleman farmer". Merriam-Webster, An Encyclopædia Britannica Company. Retrieved 25 June 2016. A man who farms mainly for pleasure rather than for profit
  3. ^ "Collins: "gentleman farmer"". Collins. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  4. ^ Claudius Loudon, John (1839). "An encyclopædia of agriculture ... Fourth edition, etc - Book I Agricultural Artists (Page 1123)". Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, &Longmans. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  5. ^ Kames, Lord Henry Home (1776). The Gentleman Farmer: Being an Attempt to Improve Agriculture by Subjecting it to the Test of Rational Principles. W. Creech. p. 67. Retrieved 25 June 2015. gentlemen farmers lord acreage sheep.
  6. ^ Quinn, Tom (1 April 2012). Life on the Old Farm (Chapter - A Farming Dynasty). David & Charles. ISBN 9781446354773. Retrieved 25 June 2016. My father was a gentleman farmer in the sense that he had a private income... he didn't need to worry too much if the farm itself didn't make any money.
  7. ^ "Gentleman farmer". Encarta. Archived from the original on 20 September 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2009.
  8. ^ Unsigned (22 September 1924). "Fred Zimmerman Obituary". Daily Republican Register.
  9. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 9 July 2010.
  10. ^ James Dillon (17 October 1974). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Brandon, Brandon Plantation "Lower Brandon"" (pdf). National Park Service. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help) and Accompanying four photos, interior and exterior, from 1969 and 1974 (32 KB)
  11. ^ Staff, Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission, James W. Moody, Jr., Director (24 July 1969). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Brandon" (PDF). National Park Service. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) (at Virginia DHR, includes map of the plantation)