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Glossary

Term Definition
acre Imperial unit of area, containing 4 roods
apothecaries' weight Imperial system of measurement of weight in which 12 ounces made up a pound
avoirdupois Imperial system of measurement of weight in which 16 ounces made up a pound
barrel Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure liquid, containing various quantities depending on the type of commodity
bob Colloquial term for a shilling coin
bovate Alternative word for oxgang - 1/8 of a hide
bushel Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure dry goods, containing 4 pecks
butt Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure wine, containing 7 rundlets or 2 hogsheads
chain Imperial unit of distance, containing 22 yards
chaldron Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure dry goods, containing 12 sacks. Also spelt 'chauldron'
crown Currency measure, worth 5 shillings
decimal System of measurement based on powers of 10
decimalisation Process of transferring from old British money (pounds, shillings and pence) to new decimal currency
dram/drachm The smallest unit in the Avoirdupois system of measurement of weight (16 drams to the ounce), and also a unit in the Apothecaries' weight (8 drams to the ounce)
farthing Smallest currency measure. 4 farthings made 1 penny
firkin Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure liquid, containing various quantities depending on the type of commodity
florin Colloquial term for a two shilling coin
fluid drachm Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure liquid, containing 60 minims
fluid ounce Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure liquid, containing 8 fluid drachms
foot Imperial unit of distance, containing 12 inches
furlong Imperial unit of distance, containing 10 chains (40 poles)
gallon Imperial unit of volume or capacity, containing 4 quarts. Various different gallon measurements were replaced in 1824 by the standard Imperial gallon
gill Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure liquid, containing 5 fluid ounces
grain The smallest unit of Troy weight (24 grains to the pennyweight) and Apothecaries' weight (20 grains to the scruple)
groat Coin worth 4 pence
guinea Currency measure, worth 1 pound and 1 shilling
hide Imprecise unit of area, supposed to be the area which could be ploughed in a year by a team of eight oxen, enough to support a peasant family
hogshead Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure liquid, containing various quantities depending on the type of commodity
hundredweight Imperial unit of weight, containing 4 quarters.
Imperial Traditional system of measurement used in Great Britain and its colonies
Imperial gallon Standard unit of volume or capacity introduced in 1824, containing 4 quarts
inch Imperial unit of distance (12 inches to the foot)
kilderkin Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure beer. 2 kilderkins made 1 barrel
league Imperial unit of distance, containing 3 miles
load Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure dry goods, containing four quarters
mark Currency measure, worth 13 shillings and 4 pence
metric System of measurement originally developed by the French in the late eighteenth century, based on rational division of weights and measurements into tens, hundreds and thousands
mile Imperial unit of distance, containing 8 furlongs, and further subdivided into chains, perches, yards, feet and inches
minim The smallest unit of measurement in Imperial volume or capacity. 60 minims made 1 fluid drachm
ounce Imperial unit of weight, containing 16 drams (Avoirdupois), 20 pennyweights (Troy), or 8 drams (Apothecaries' weight)
oxgang Alternative word for bovate - 1/8 of a hide
peck Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure dry goods, containing 2 gallons
pence Plural terms for penny, meaning the same as 'pennies'
penny Currency measure, divided into halfpennies and farthings. 12 pennies made 1 shilling
pennyweight Imperial unit of Troy weight, containing 24 grains
perch Imperial unit of area (40 perches to 1 rood)
Also an Imperial unit of distance, containing 5½ yards (preferred term is pole)
pin Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure beer, containing 4½ gallons
pint Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure liquid or dry goods. In liquid measurements, containing 4 gills
pole Imperial unit of distance, containing 5½ yards
pound Imperial unit of weight (lb), containing 16 ounces (Avoirdupois), or 12 ounces (Troy and Apothecaries' weight)
Also the standard currency measure (£), divided into shillings and pence
puncheon Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure liquid, containing various quantities depending on the type of commodity
quart Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure liquid or dry goods, containing 2 pints
quarter Imperial unit of weight, containing 2 stones
Also, Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure dry goods, containing 8 bushels
rod Imperial unit of distance, containing 5½ yard (preferred term is pole)
rood Imperial unit of area, containing 40 perches
rundlet Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure wine, containing 15 gallons
sack Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure dry goods, containing 15 gallons
scruple Imperial unit of Apothecaries' weight, containing 20 grains
shilling Currency measure, divided into 12 pence
sovereign Currency measure, worth 1 pound
stone Imperial unit of weight, containing 14 pounds.
tanner Colloquial term for a sixpence coin
tierce Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure wine. 2 tierces made 1 firkin
ton The biggest unit of measurement in Imperial weight, containing 20 hundredwright.
troy Imperial system of measurement of weight in which 12 ounces made up a pound
tun The biggest unit of measurement in Imperial volume or capacity, used to measure liquid. Divided into firkins, puncheons or butts depending on the type of commodity
Winchester Measure Imperial unit of volume or capacity used to measure dry goods, abolished and replaced in 1824 by the Imperial gallon
yard Imperial unit of distance, containing 3 feet

 

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