Carucate

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Farm-derived units of measurement:
  1. The rod is a historical unit of length equal to 5½ yards. It may have originated from the typical length of a mediaeval ox-goad.
  2. The furlong (meaning furrow length) was the distance a team of oxen could plough without resting. This was standardised to be exactly 40 rods.
  3. An acre was the amount of land tillable by one man behind one ox in one day. Traditional acres were long and narrow due to the difficulty in turning the plough.
  4. An oxgang was the amount of land tillable by one ox in a ploughing season. This could vary from village to village, but was typically around 15 acres.
  5. A virgate was the amount of land tillable by two oxen in a ploughing season.
  6. A carucate was the amount of land tillable by a team of eight oxen in a ploughing season. This was equal to 8 oxgangs or 4 virgates.

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.[1]

The tax levied on each carucate came to be known as "carucage".

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References[edit]

  1. ^ 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.