Life in Elizabethan England Next

More Measures

Man with Basket
"It is to be lamented that one general measure is not in use throughout all England, but every market town hath in manner a several bushel. Such is the covetousness of many clerks of the market, that in taking view of measures they will always so provide that one and the same bushel shall either be too big or too little…so that divers unconscionable dealers have one measure to sell by and another to buy withal; the like also in weights."
Trade goods of various kinds traditionally have their own customary measures, although some actual amounts are variable. A dozen is always 12, but barrels come in varying sizes.

A Scottish ell is about a yard (16 nails of two-and-a-quarter inches), but an English ell is 45 inches (20 nails).
These Are sold by the
Butter, beer, herring, salmon and other fish, eels
Tar, pitch, gunpowder
Wines
Barrel
Honey and other thick liquids Bolle
Sackcloth, sailcloth, and quantities of haircloth Bolt
Hay, straw, wood, lime, rushes
(In smaller quantities, rushes are sold by the creel
or the shoulder load)
Cartload
New coal, salt, quicklime, shells. Chaldron
A 7-pound quantity of wool Clove
Glass Cradle
Hurdles, tanned hides, napkins, sheepskins, needles Diker
Candles (also sold by weight) Dozen
Linen and small lengths of haircloth Ell
Soft fruits Frail
Smaller quantities of goods otherwise sold by the barrel Firkin


Sources:
Dorothy Hartley, Lost Country Life
Lena Cowen Orlin, Elizabethan Households, 1995
William Harrison, A Description of England, 1587



::  Numbers & Measures, Dates & Clocks


Previous Top Home Notes Next

MaggiRos
2 August 2005 pkm