Fàilte! (Welcome!)

Fàilte! (Welcome!)
This blog is the result of my ongoing research into the people, places and events that have shaped the Western Isles of Scotland and, in particular, the 'Siamese-twins' of Harris and Lewis.
My interest stems from the fact that my Grandfather was a Stornowegian and, until about four years ago, that was the sum total of my knowledge, both of him and of the land of his birth.
I cannot guarantee the accuracy of everything that I have written (not least because parts are, perhaps, pioneering) but I have done my best to check for any errors.
My family mainly lived along the shore of the Sound of Harris, from An-t-Ob and Srannda to Roghadal, but one family 'moved' to Direcleit in the Baighs...

©Copyright 2011 Peter Kerr All rights reserved

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Old Scottish Weights and Measures

I made reference to this excellent resource when examining the labour and yields relating to feannagan cultivation.

They originate from 'A Complete System of Practical Arithmetic' published for the Scottish School-book Association in 1869. I say 'for' because I have found another of their titles of the same year that was published by William Collins.

If Lippies, Pecks, Firlots and Bolls leave you high and dry, or Mutchkins and Chopins w(h)et your appetite, then you will find the answers here:


An extract from an account of the 'Hebudae' from 1794 is interesting:

The weights and measures used in these isles, are various and uncertain, as on the mainland. I believe the most prevalent weight to be that denominated Dutch weight; but concerning either the weights or the measures,I have not yet obtained satisfactory information. One thing certain is, that by diversity of weights and measures, traffic is rendered more tardy, complex and difficult in its operations; whilst, by simplicity and uniformity of weights and measures, its sales and exchanges are quickened, and its transactions in general, made less operose*.

Heron, 1794 (See next entry in blog for full citation)

*Operose = Laborious

Despite having been kindly given this link to Old Dutch Weights and Measures:
I am unsure exactly what the term 'Dutch weight' in this article refers to!

1 comment:

  1. It is worth noting that commercial herring fishery was introduced to the Outer Hebrides by the Dutch, hence the use of Dutch weights. As the linked list of Dutch units of measurements shows (put it through Google Translator to get it in English), there was a veritable plethora of units, even differing between towns and cities within the Low Countries. Long live SI!