Wey (unit)

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The wey or weight (Old Englishƿæᵹe, waege, lit. "weight")[1] was an English unit of weight and dry volume by at least AD 900, when it begins to be mentioned in surviving legal codes.

Weight[edit]

A statute of Edgar the Peaceful set a price floor on wool by threatening both the seller and purchaser who agreed to trade a wool wey for less than 120 pence[3] (i.e., ½ pound of sterling silver per wey), but the wey itself varied over time and by location. The wey was standardized as 14 stone of 12½ merchants' pounds each (175 lbs. or around 76.5 kg) by the time of the Assize of Weights and Measures c. 1300. This wey was applied to lead, soap, and cheese as well as wool. 2 wey made a sack, 12 a load, and 24 a last.[4]

The wool wey was later figured as 2 hundredweight of 8 stone of 14 avoirdupois pounds each (224 lbs. or about 101.7 kg).[5]

The Suffolk wey was 356 avoirdupois pounds (around 161.5 kg). It was used as a measure for butter and cheese.[6]

Volume[edit]

As a measure of volume for dry commodities, it denoted roughly 40 bushels or 320 gallons.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ How Many? A Dictionary of Units of Measurement: W
  2. ^ Thorpe, Benjamin (1840), "The Laws of King Edgar", Ancient Laws and Institutes of England; Comprising Laws enacted under the Anglo-Saxon Kings from Æthelbirht to Cnut, With an English Translation of the Saxon; The Laws called Edward the Confessor's; The Laws of William the Conqueror, and those ascribed to Henry the First: Also, Monumenta Ecclesiastica Anglicana, From the Seventh to the Tenth Century; And the Ancient Latin Version of the Anglo-Saxon Laws. With a Compendious Glossary, &c., London: Commissioners of the Public Records of the Kingdom, p. 113 . (Old English) & (Latin) & (English)
  3. ^ 2 Edgar c. 8[2]
  4. ^ The Assize of Weights and Measures. c. 1300.
  5. ^ Cardarelli, F. (2003). Encyclopaedia of Scientific Units, Weights and Measures. Their SI Equivalences and Origins. London: Springer. p. 49. ISBN 978-1-4471-1122-1. 
  6. ^ Cardarelli, F. (2003). Encyclopaedia of Scientific Units, Weights and Measures. Their SI Equivalences and Origins. London: Springer. p. 46. ISBN 978-1-4471-1122-1. 
  7. ^ Cardarelli, F. (2003). Encyclopaedia of Scientific Units, Weights and Measures. Their SI Equivalences and Origins. London: Springer. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-4471-1122-1.