English Weights and Measures 

 

The following descriptions have been taken from various sources

Most of which are now not on general sale but are either in collections or public libraries

Some are still in use whilst some are not

Some measures are duplicates of others in differing products

Please also note that in some of the following I have written the small letter 'f' to represent the letter 's' as was the custom in the earlier centuries

This is to give some feeling as to the requirements of those ages.

 

 

Manors at Domesday (1086) were rated according to their Hidage, and as the extent of a hide has been a matter of dispute, it may be instructive to quote the standard measures of Glastonbury Abbey, as registered in the large MS. Cartulary at Longleat (p.406), alluded to by Canon Jackson in his "Liber Henrici de Soliaco" (1189):

A Farthing Land                  =    Abt. 12 acres

A Furlong or Ferdel             =    10 Acres

A Virgate (4 furlongs)          =    40 Acres

A Half-yard Land                =    20 Acres

A Hide (4 virgates)              =    160 Acres

A Knight's Fee (4 Hides)     =    640 acres

SOURCE: -"Dunmonia and the River Parrett" by Rev. William H.P. Greswell M.A., F.R.G.S. published 1922 p. 178 - See Also Below....

 

 

AREA - (Square Measure) - [See \also LENGTH below]

144 Square Inches            =            1 Square Foot

  12 Square Feet               =            1 Square Yard

  30 1/4 Square Yards      =            1 Square Pole

  40 Square                      =            1 Rood

    4 Roods                       =            1 Acre (4840 Square Yards)

640 Acres                        =            1 Square Mile

SOURCE: - "Workshop Calculations Tables and Formula" by F.J. Camm F.R.S.A published 1941 5th Edition

 

 

Measure of Capacity - (Liquid or Dry Measure)

 

4 Gills                        =            1 pint

2 pints                       =            1 Quart

2 Quarts                    =            1 Pottle

2 Pottles                    =            1 Gallon

4 Quarts                    =            1 Gallon

2 Gallons                   =            1 Peck

4 Pecks                    =            1 Bushel

3 Bushels                  =            1 Bag

4 Bushels                  =            1 Coombe

8 Bushels                  =            1 Quarter

12 Bags                    =            1 Chauldron

5 Quarters                =            1 Load or Wey

2 Loads or Wey       =            1 Last

SOURCE: - "Workshop Calculations Tables and Formulae" by F.J. Camm F.R.S.A published 1941 5th Edition

 

 

 

Wine Measure

 

4 Gills                          =            1 Pint

2 Pints                         =            1 Quart

4 Quarts                      =            1 Gallon

10 Gallons                   =            1 Anker

18 Gallons                   =            1 Runlet or Rundlet

311/2 Gallons              =            1 Barrel

42 Barrels                   =             1 Tierce

63 Gallons                   =            1 Hogshead

2 Tierces                     =            1 Puncheon

1 1/2 Puncheons          =            1 Pipe or Butt

2 Pipes                        =            1 Tun

SOURCE: - "Workshop Calculations Tables and Formulae" by F.J. Camm F.R.S.A published 1941 5th Edition

 

 

Ale and Beer Measure

4 Gills                                                    =            1 Pint

2 Pints                                                   =            1 Quart

4 Quarts                                                =            1 Gallon

9 Gallons                                               =            1 Firkin

2 Firkins                                                =            1 Kilderkin

2 Kilderkins                                           =            1 Barrel   

1 1/2 Barrels                                          =            1 Hogshead

1 1/3 Hogsheads                                    =            1 Puncheon

1 1/2 Puncheons or 2 Hogs heads           =            1 Butt or Pipe

2 Pipes                                                   =            1 Tun

SOURCE: - "Workshop Calculations Tables and Formulae" by F.J. Camm F.R.S.A published 1941 5th Edition

 

 

Length

 

A LUG:

An olde unit of length, the same as a Rod, Pole or Perch, varying according to local custom; usually of 16½ feet

Sometimes of 15, 18, 20, or 21 feet - in squared measure is a Square Rod, Pole or Perch.

Source: - Oxford English Dictionary

 

 

Various Measures Used on Farms

[Courtesy of OLD-ENGLISH-l@rootsweb.com subscribers - 20-Feb-2006]

 

Thatching Materials {How Heavy, How Much and How Long" by Colin Chapman

 

1 Thrave    =      2 Kivers [By the 19th century] or Stook

1 Kiver      =    12 Sheaves [Also known as Boltings; Bundles; Trusses]

 

Sheaves were stooked to form a triangular shape - Ʌ - five sheaves to each side, the ears of corn facing upwards with the sheave butt standing on the ground. Each sheave leant against the opposite one and then one sheave at each end of the stook to hold the shape and protect it from being blown over but at the same time allowing the wind and sun to dry the sheaves and ears of corn. {The writer was quite adroit at this work in his youth}

 

In Scotland in 1523, 1 Thrave was equal to 4 Sheaves.

 

Straw Weights

 

1 Bundle of Straw    =    24 Pounds

1 Bolting of Straw    =    28 Pounds

1 Truss of Straw      =    36 Pounds

 

Hay Weights

 

1 Truss of Old Hay    =    56 Pounds    [Regarded as 'Old' after 29 September]

1 Truss of New Hay  =    60 Pounds

 

 

MEDICINES

 

Liquid Measure

 

60 minims (m)            =    1 fluid drachm (ʒ)

  8 drachms                =    1 fluid ounce

20 ounces                  =    1 pint (O)

 

The approximate domestic equivalents to the above measurements are:-

 

1 minim        =        1 drop

1 drachm      =        1 teaspoonful

1 ounce        =        2 tablespoonfuls

 

Please note that as the size of spoons vary considerably they should not be used for measuring important medicines.

 

Measurement of Weight

 

60 grains (gr)        =  1 drachm

  8 drachms           = 1 ounce

 

Metric Volume Equivalents

 

1 litre                    =  approximately 35 fluid ounces

1 cubic centimetre = approximately 17 drops

 

Metric Weight

 

1 gramme = approximately 15 grains

 

 

OTHER MEASUREMENTS FOUND  -

(Some are duplicated due to their relationships - spelling is copied as was written, the letter [f] for the letter [s] although not in every occasion)

 

The following tables of measure were taken from the book "The Young Man's Beft Companion" by George Fisher - Accomptant - London 1795, owned by James Fisher in 1818. (Please note that some have already been displayed)

 

A Table of the Parts of Apothecaries Weights

 

20 Grains        = 1 Scruple        fer. a Scruple

  3 Scruples     = 1 Drachm        dr. a Drachm

  8 Drachms     = 1 Ounce         oz. an Ounce

12 Ounces       = 1 Pound          lb. a Pound

By these weights they compound their medicines; but they buy and fell their drugs by Avoirdupoife Weight.

 

Cloth Measure

 

4 Nails or 9 inches        =    1 qr. of a Yard

4 qrs. or 36 inches        =    1 Yard

5 qrs. or 454 inches      =    1 Ell (English)

3 qrs. or 27 inches        =    1 Ell (Flemish)

6 qrs. or 45 inches        =    1 Ell (French)

 

A Table of Wool Weight

 

7 lbs                         make 1 Clove

2 Cloves or 14 lbs    make 1 Stone

1 Stone or 28 lbs      make 1 Todd

6 Todds and ½         make 1 Wey or 182 lbs.

2 Weys or 364 lbs    make 1 Sack

12 Sacks                  make 1 Laft or 4368 lbs

240 lbs                     make 1 pack of Wool

 

Tables of Liquid Measure

 

Liquid meafure is of two forts, viz. one for wine brandy Etc, and the other for ale and beer.

 

Wine Etc.

 

  8 pints                 =        1 Gallon

42 Gallons             =        1 Tierce

63 Gallons             =        1 Hogfhead

84 Gallons             =        1 Puncheon

  2 Hogfhead          =        1 Pipe or Butt

  2 Pipes or Butts    =        1 Tun or 252 Gallons

 

Note, That fweet oil hath 236 Gallons to the Tun; but oil from Greenland hath 252 Gallons to the Tun.

Note, The wine gallon contains 23 cubic or folid inches by which all liquids are measured, except Beer and Ale.

 

Beer Measure

 

8 Pints            =        1 Gallon

9 Gallons        =        1 Firkin

4 Firkins         =        1 Kilderkin

2 Kilderkens   =        1 Barrel or 36 Gallons

1 Barrel and ½ or 54 Gallons  =   1 Hogshead

 

Ale Measure

 

 

8 Pints                =    1 Gallon

8 Gallons            =    1 Firkin of Ale, Soap or Herrings

2 Firkins             =    1 Kilderkin

2 Kilderkens       =    1 Barrel or 32 Gallons

1 Barrel and ½ or 48 Gallons     =    1 Hogshead

 

Note, The Beer and Ale gallons are the fame, Viz. 282 folid inches; but with this difference:

The Barrel of beer contains 1228 cubic inches or 4 Gallons more than the Barrel of Ale.

 

In a Tun of Wine are: -           

In a Pipe or Butt are:

2 Pipes or Buts

2 Hogfheads

6 Tierces

3 Tierces

252 Gallons

126 Gallons

504 Pottles

252 Pottles

1008 Quarts

504 Quarts

2016 Pints

1008 Pints

In a Puncheon are:

In a Hogfhead are:

84 Gallons

63 Gallons

168 Pottles

126 Pottles

336 Quarts

504 Quarts

672 Pints

504 Pints

In a Barrel of Beer are:

In a Barrel of Ale are:

2 Kilderkins

2 Kilderkins

4 Firkins

4 Firkins

36 Gallons

32 Gallons

72 Pottles

64 Pottles

144 Quarts

128 Quarts

288 Pints

256 Pints

Dry Measure

2 Pints            =        1 Quart

2 Quarts         =        1 Pottle

2 Pottles         =        1 Gallon

2 Gallons        =        1 Peck

4 Pecks          =        1 Bufhel land measure

5 Pecks           =        1 Bufhel Water Measure

4 Bufhels         =        1 Comb or Half a Quarter

1 Combs         =        1 Quarter

 

Salt and fea coal are heaped or efle there are five pecks to the bufhel.

In this there are: 2 Weys or 10 Quarter or 80 Bufhels or 320 Pecks or 1280 Pottles or 2560 Quarts or 5120 Pints.

 

5 Quarters            =        1 Wey

2 Weys                =        1 Last or 10 Quarters or 5 Fatts or Vatts or 36 Bufhels of fea coal or 1 Chalder.(21 Chalder is accounted a fcore in the River Thames)

 

In a Wey there are 5 Quarters or 40 Bufhells or 160 Pecks or 320 Gallons or 640 Pottles or 1280 Quarts or 2560 Pints.

 

NOTE:

By an act AD 1712, the Bufhel is 2178 cubic inches, and a Gallon of this measure is 272¼ cubic inches.

 

Long Measure

 

3 Barley Corns        =    1 Inch

12 Inches                =    1 Foot

3 Feet                     =     1 Yard

3 Feet 9 Inches       =     1 English Ell

5 Feet                     =     1 Geometrical Pace

5 1/2 Yards             =     1 Pole, Perch or Rod

6 Feet                     =     1 Fathom or 2 Yards

40 Poles or 220 Yards = 1 Furlong

8 Furlongs                    = 1 Mile or 1760 Yards    

3 Miles                         = 1 League

 

In addition to the above Land Measure, I add the following:

 

48 Poles make 1 Furlong, or a Quarter of an Acre

160 Poles in length, and one in breadth is one Acre

80 Poles in length, and two in breadth is one Acre

40 Poles in length, and four in breadth is one Acre

4 Poles in length make one Chain

10 Chains in length, and one in breadth make one Acre

 

 

A hint of Generals, or Things Proper to be known or remembered on Particular Occasions!

From "The Young Man's Best Companion"

A Ream of Paper equals 20 Quires

A Quire of Paper equals24 Sheets

A Bale of Paper equals 10 Reams

A Roll of Parchment equals 5 dozen or 60 Skins

A Dicker of Hides equals 10 Skins

A Dicker of Gloves equals 10 dozen pair

A Last of Hides equals 20 Dickers

A load of Timber (Un-hewed) equals 40 Feet

A Chadron of Coals equals 36 Bushels

A Wey of Cheese equals 256 Pounds

A Laft of Corn or Rape seed equals 10 Quarters

A Quarter in England equals 8 Bushels but in Scotland it is 4 Bolls

A Quarter of Pot Afhes, Cod Fifh, White Herrings, Meal, Pitch and Tar equals 12 Barrels

A Quarter of Flax and Feathers equals 17 Cwt of Gun-Powder, 24 Barrels or 2400lbs of Wool, or 4368lbs

A Tun of Wine equals 252 Gallons; of Oil of Greenland, 252 Gallons and Sweet Oil of Genoa equals 236 Gallons

A Ton in weight is 20 Cwt of Iron Etc, but of Lead there is 19½ Cwt and called a Fodder or Fother

A Todd of Wool equals 28 Pounds

A Pack of Wool equals 364 pounds

A Load of Bricks equals 400 and of Plain Tiles it is 1000

A Stone of Fifh is 18lbs, of Wool it is 14lbs - The same for Horseman's weight and of Hay, but Pepper, Cinnamon and Allum have but 13½lbs to the Stone

A Stone of Glafs is 5 lbs and a Seam of is 24 Stone

A Truss of Hay equals 56lbs and a Load is 39 Truffes

 

Note:

New Hay in June and August ought to be 60 lbs to the Trufs, as per a Statue of 2nd William and Mary 1693.

 

A Cade of Red Herrings is 900 but of Sprats it is 1000

Of Iron & Shot it is 14lb to the stone

 

 

The following are Barrels of Sundry Commodities

 

Anchovies                    30lb

A double barrel            60lbs

Nuts or Apples            3 Bufhels

Pot Afh or Barilla         200 lbs

White or Black Plates   300 lbs

Candles                        10 doz lbs

Salmon or Eels             42 Gallons

Figs                              3 Qrs. 14 lbs to 2 C¼ (Not fully explained)

Raifons                         1 cwt

Oil                                31 Gallons and a half

Spanish Tobacco          2 cwt to 3 cwt

Gunpowder                  1 cwt

Soap                            240 lbs

Butter                           224 lbs

Herrings                        32 Gallons

 

 

Things in the wholefale trade bought and fold by the thoufand

 

Cuttle Bones - Oranges & Lemons - Chair Nails - Tacks & Tender Hooks - Pomegranates & Tazels - Goofe Quils & Thimbles - Bricks - Clinkers & Flanders Tiles - Billets & Leaves of Horn - Barrel Hoops - Squirrel fkins - Slate & Hilling ftones - Pins & fmall needles by the 1000 dozen

 

 

Things bought and fold at fixfcore to the hundred

 

Banks & Barlings - Barrles and Pipe boards - Bomb fpars & Bow ftaves - Canfpars & Caprevans - Herrings & DEal boards - Nails, Eggs & Cod fifh - Cole, Ling and Newfoundland fifth - ftock fifh of all forts - Ells of Canvas & moft foreign linens - Hogshead ftaves.

 

 

  

Roman Numerals

 

Numbers were anciently expreffed by letters; and it is neceffary to understand them for the readier reading of dates of years,

frequently ufed in the title pages of books, on funeral monuments and in Roman Hiftory etc.

 

 

Number Signifies
I One
V Five
X Ten
L Fifty
CC Two Hundred
D or CIC One Thousand
M or CCIC Ten Thousand
ICC Five Thousand
CCIC Ten Thousand
ICCC Fifty Thousand
CCCCICCCC One Hundred Thousand
ICCCCC Five Hundred Thousand
CCCCCICCCCC Ten Hundred Thousand or One Million
MDCCLXXXVIII The Present Date 1788

M being One Thousand - D Five Thousand - CC Two Hundred - LXXXVIII Eighty Eight

 

When a letter of inferior value ftands after one of fuperior, its value is to be added thereto

Thus VI, VII and VIII fignify Six-Seven-Eight.

When a letter of inferior value is placed before one of fuperior, then its value is to be taken therefrom

 Thus IV-IX-XL-XC fignify Four-Nine-Forty-Ninety.

For further information and immediate conversion facility go to: - http://www.novaroma.org/via_romana/numbers.html

 

            

Page update last on: -06/04/2016