A Todd of Wool

Strayed Sheep

“Strayed Sheep” by William Holman Hunt (1852)

Snippets 75. The following quote is taken from The New British Jewel, or Complete Housewife’s Best Companion, published in 1788. It is a collection of cookery and other practical advice. Life seems very simple now in comparison with the following list of weights and measures!

A Ream of Paper, 20 Quires.

A Quire of Paper, 24 Sheets.

A Bale of Paper, 10 Reams.

A Roll of Parchment, 5 Dozen, or 60 Skins.

A Dicker of Hides, 10 Skins.

Ditto of Gloves, 10 Dozen Pair.

A Last of Hides, 20 Dickers.

A Load of Timber unhewed, 40 Feet.

A Chaldron of Coals, 36 Bushels.

A Hogshead of Wine, 63 Gallons.

Ditto of Beer, 54 Gallons.

A Barrel of Beer 36 Gallons.

Ditto of Ale, 32 Gallons.

A Gross, 144, or 12 Dozen,

A Weigh of Cheese, 256 Pounds,

Days in the Year, 365, Weeks 52, and Hours 8766.

Pence in the Pound 240, farthings 960.

An Acre of Land, 16o square Poles or Perches.

A Last of Corn or Rape-seed, 10 Quarters.

A Quarter in England, 8 bushels; in Scotland, 4 bolls; in Spain, about 139 Pounds weight of Corn.

Ditto of Pot Ashes, Codfish, White-herrings, Meal, Pitch, and Tar, 12 Barrels.

Ditto of Flax and Feathers, 17 C. of Gunpowder 24 Barrels or 2400lb. Of Wool, 43681b.

A Tun of Wine, 252 Gallons, Oil of Greenland, 252 Gallons, and sweet Oil of Genoa, 236 Gallons.

A Ton in Weight, 20 C. of Iron etc but of Lead there is but 19 C. and a Half, called a Fodder or Fother.

A Todd of Wool, 28 Pounds.

A Pack of Ditto, 364 Pounds

A load of Bricks 500, and of plain Tiles 1000.

A Stone of Fish 8 lb. and of Wool, 14 lb. The same for Horseman’s Weight, and also Hay; but Pepper, Cinnamon, and Allum, have but 131b. and a half to the Stone.

Ditto of Glass, 5 Pounds, and a Seam of ditto, 24 Stone.

A Truss of Hay, 56 Pounds; and a Load of ditto, thirty-nine Trusses.

Note, New Hay in June and August, ought to be 60 Pounds to the Truss; as per Statute of 2 William and Mary, 1693.

Some weights are of course still in use today, but others have been consigned to history such as “dicker”, which has its origins in the Latin “decuria” a division of ten men, hence its use as ten hides or dozens of pairs of gloves.

It is interesting that no mention is made of leap years, although they were a relatively new thing, with the Gregorian calendar only adopted in Britain since 1752. So at the time of publication there had only ever been seven leap years in Britain. The change in the calendar had been met with some objection for various reasons: some did not like the idea of living their lives by a Roman Catholic calendar, some just simply did not like change (as is human nature) and others believed that 11 days had literally been stolen from their lives when the date changed from 2nd September to 14th September with nothing in between, to bring things in line with the rest of Europe in 1752.


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