Anglo-Saxons Today


One of the main things that set us apart from the rest of the world was our system of measurements. As everyone seemed to be turning to metrication, we in Britain held out as long as we could until about the mid 1970's, when some bright spark in the then government decided it was a good idea to start becoming more European. Of course, as usual we the people lost out. I was in high school then, when we were taught decimalization. Boy did we all lose out financially, as everything suddenly became more expensive. So how did the Early Anglo-Saxon English measure distance and volume?

Apparently, from what I've read, the inch was invented by our Anglo-Saxon forefathers, which was the length of three barleycorns and is close to the modern inch. The inch was spelt "ynce." Then there was the shaftment which was equal to roughly six and a half inches, two of which would make the length of a foot, thirteen inches. There were two other types of foot in use then as well. Firstly there was the Roman foot which was 12 inches, and the natural foot which was about nine and three quarter inches long. When the Normans arrived they brought with them the Roman 12 inch foot, but it was not until Henry I that the 12 inch foot became official. It was Henry I who also established the "yard" by creating the three foot standard. In fact, both the foot (36 barleycorns,) and the yard (108 barleycorns,) are a development of the Anglo-Saxon ynce.

I don't intend to take you through the whole history of English measurements for length, weight and volume as they changed from time to time through the centuries. But everything we did in England in terms of measurements was due to the Early Anglo-Saxon English and lasted till the nineteen seventies. So instead I'll show you the measurements.


The last coins to be struck before the invasion in 1066 was the penny, and it has been with us in one form or another ever since. It even survived decimalization.

 The point is this, keep the currency as is, ditch metrication and retain the Imperial Measurement system we had before. This is as close to how the Early Anglo-Saxon English measured things as we could get to in modern times.


 1 Ynce (inch). =

 1 Shaftment   =

 1 Foot =

 1 yard =

 1 Gyrd (1 rod) =

 1 Chain =

 1 Fuhrlang (1 Furlong) =

 1 Mile =


 1 Acre =

 1 Square Fuhrlang =

 1 Square Mile =


 1 Ounce =

 1 Pound =

 1 Stone =

 1 Hundredweight =

 1 Ton =



 1 Fluid ounce =

 1 Gill =

 1 Cup =

 1 Pint =

 1 Quart =

 1 Gallon =

 1 Peck =

 1 bushel =

 1 bag =

 1 Coombe =

 1 quarter =

 1 Chauldron =

 5 quarters =

 2 loads (weys) =

3 Barleycorns.

6 ynce (inches).

12 ynce (inches).

36 ynce (inches)./ 3 feet.

5 and a half yards.

4 Gyrd (4 rods).

40 Gyrd (40 rods). 

8 Fuhrlang (8 furlongs). 

1 Fuhrlang by 1 Chain.

10 acres (side by side).

(10 x 8) x 8 acres.

1 Barleycorn.

16 ounces.

14 pounds.

8 stones (112 pounds).

20 Hundredweight.

1 ounce of Water.

5 fluid ounces.

10 fluid ounces.

2 cups (20 fluid ounces).

2 pints.

4 quarts.

2 Gallons.

4 pecks.

3 bushels.

4 bushels

2 Coombes.

12 bags

1 Load (wey)

1 Last.

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