The carucate (Medieval Latin: carrūcāta, from carrūca, "wheeled plough"), ploughland or plough (Old English: plōgesland, "plough's land") was a unit of assessment for tax used in most Danelaw counties of England, and is found for example in the Domesday Book. The carucate was based on the area a plough team of eight oxen could till in a single annual season (usually but not always excluding its suitability for winter vegetables and desirability to remain fallow in crop rotation). It was sub-divided into oxgangs, or "bovates", based on the area a single ox might till in the same period, which thus represented one eighth of a carucate; and it was strongly analogous to the hide, a unit of tax assessment used outside the Danelaw counties.
The tax levied on each carucate came to be known as "carucage".
- Though a carucate might nominally be regarded as an area of 120 acres (490,000 m²) (0.49 km²), and can usefully be equated to certain definitions of the hide, its variation over time and depending on soil and fertility makes its actual figure wildly variable: see e.g. Stenton, F.M., 'Introduction', in Foster, C.W. & Longley, T. (eds.), The Lincolnshire Domesday and the Lindsey Survey, Lincoln Record Society, XIX, 1924, especially pp. ix-xix.