Note on Some Old Measures
The bushel was one of the
measures mentioned by Trevor in his article "Do you recall?" in a recent
issue of The Friend.
A bushel was a dry volume measure equivalent to 8 gallons, widely used in
agriculture and horticulture before the advent of the bulk handling of
cereal grain in farming (in the late 1950's). Cereals were commonly
bought, sold and stored in large jute sacks which held four bushels. These
sacks were usually hired from the West of England Sack Company and were
commonly called West of England sacks.
Since the bushel is a volume measure, the weight of a sack of grain
depended on the type of cereal. Moreover, the bushel weight of any cereal
was also variable, depending on such factors as fullness of grain and
moisture content. The average bushel weights of the common cereals were:
Oats 42 lbs (19.05 kilos)
Barley 56 lbs (25.4 kilos)
Wheat 63 lbs (28.6 kilos)
The corresponding weights for a West of England sackful in each case would
Oats 42 ´ 4 ¸ 112 = 1 ½ cwts. (76.2 kilos)
Barley 56 ´ 4 B 112 = 2 cwts (101.6 kilos)
Wheat 63 ´ 4 B 112 = 2 ¼ cwts (114.3 kilos)
Farm workers were expected to handle these sacks unassisted and not
infrequently to carry sacks up a ladder from the ground floor to a grain
loft. Considering that a sack of wheat weighed 2 ¼ cwts it is little
wonder that many farm workers had back problems.
The following article was published in The Cambrian Register in 1796.
TOPOGRAPHY OF WALES.
WALES, called Cyrnru by the natives, was originally divided into many
royalties or lordships, and often varying in the number; but in general
all of them were subject, in a degree, during some periods at least, to
one or the other of the three principalities of Gwynedd, Powys, and
Deheubarth; or North Wales, Powys, and South Wales.
The greatest district of a determinate extent, was the Cantrev, analogous
in most respects to the English hundred. The Cantrev constituted of a
certain number of subdivisions, ascertained by the primitive measurement
of the Britons, as defined in the laws of Hywel, and therein said to be
first instituted in the time of Dyvnwal.
The measure of length consisted of the following gradations:
Tri hvd heidden, un modvedd, Three barley corn lengths, one inch
Tair modvedd, un palvod, Three inches, one palm
Tair palvod, un troedvedd, Three palms, one foot
Tair troedvedd, un cam, Three feet one pace
Tri cham, un naid, Three paces, one leap
Tair naid, un grwn, Three leaps, one ridge, or land
Mil grwn, or tir, un milltir. One thousand lands one mile.
The ancient constitution of Wales thus explains the measure of a lawful
acre. Four feet in the length of the short yoke; eight in the field yoke;
twelve in the lateral yoke; sixteen in the long yoke; and a rod equal in
length with that in the hand of the driver; with his other hand upon the
middle knob of that yoke; and as far as that reaches on each side of him
is the breadth of the acre; and thirty times that is its length.
It is otherwise defined thus:
Sixteen feet are in the length of the long yoke; sixteen yokes make the
length of the acre; and two make its breadth.
In the short yoke there were two oxen a-breast; in the next four; in the
next six ; and in the last eight. This method of yoking cattle was not
disused in some parts of the country in the last century.
Neither meadow, pasture, nor wood land were included in the acre; for only
the arable ground was measured, and that of every other description was
4 Erw, 1 Tyddyn, tenement
4 Tyddyn, 1 Rhandir, district
4 Rhandir 1 Gavel, bailiwick
4 Gavel, 1 Trev, township
4 Trev, 1 Maenol, manor
12 Maenol, and 2 Trev, 1 Cwmwd, association
2 Cwmwd, 1 Cantrev, or hundred towns.
4 Erw, 1 Tyddyn
16 -, 1 Rhandir
64 -, 1 Gavel
256 -, 1 Trev
4 Trev, 1 Maenol
50 --, 1 Cwmwd
100 -, 1 Cantrev.
The present division of Wales, consisting of thirteen counties, were
settled on the introduction of the English laws into the country. In these
the ancient Cantrev and its subdivisions were preserved generally; but the
bounds of the principalities were not, and perhaps intentionally for