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Weights & Measures

Because inventories contain lists of things (especially agricultural produce) it is worth getting to know weights and measures which were used in Scotland between 1500 and 1900. Until the late 17th century a wide diversity of weights and measures were used in Scotland. Standardisation took place from 1661 onwards, and in 1824 an act of parliament imposed Imperial measure and defined the proportions of older measures to Imperial measures. In inventories the most common measure is dry measure, but other measures occasionally appear.

Dry Measure
The firlot was equal to about 36 litres (in the case of certain crops, such as wheat, peas, beans and meal), and about 53 litres (in the case of barley, oats and malt).
1 chalder = 16 bolls
1 boll = 4 firlots
1 firlot = 4 pecks
1 peck = 4 lippies or forpets

Extract from an inventory of 1764: six bolls seed Oats and ten pecks seed Bear (i.e.barley)
Extract from an inventory of 1764: six bolls seed Oats and ten pecks seed Bear (i.e.barley)

Liquid Measure
A Scots pint equalled about 2 and 3/4 Imperial pints (about 1.7 litres) 1 gallon = 8 pints 1 pint = 2 chopins 1 chopin = 2 mutchkins 1 mutchkin = 4 gills

Weight
In Scots Troy weight 1 pound equalled slightly more than the pound avoirdupois (about 496 grammes), but weights varied in towns, and these local weights were called 'tron weights'.
1 stone = 16 pounds
1 pound = 16 ounces
1 ounce = 16 drops (or draps)

Linear And Square Measures
Scots inches, feet, chains and miles were slightly larger than Imperial equivalents.
1 mile = 8 furlongs
1 furlong = 10 chains
1 chain = 4 falls
1 fall (or fa) = 6 ells
1 ell = 3 and 1/12 feet
1 foot = 12 inches

In square measure an ell was slightly larger than an Imperial yard and slightly smaller than a square metre.
1 acre = 4 roods
1 rood = 40 falls
1 fall = 36 ells

Extract from an inventory of a tailor: Eleven eln Coarse tow cloth at ten pence p[er] Ell
Extract from an inventory of a tailor: Eleven eln Coarse tow cloth at ten pence p[er] Ell.

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