Scottish or Scots units of measurement are the weights and measures peculiar to Scotland which were nominally replaced by English units in 1685 but continued to be used in unofficial contexts until at least the late 18th century. The system was based on the ell (length), stone (mass), and boll and firlot (volume). This official system coexisted with local variants, especially for the measurement of land area.
The system is said to have been introduced by David I of Scotland (1124–53), although there are no surviving records until the 15th century when the system was already in normal use. Standard measures and weights were kept in each burgh, and these were periodically compared against one another at "assizes of measures", often during the early years of the reign of a new monarch. Nevertheless, there was considerable local variation in many of the units, and the units of dry measure steadily increased in size from 1400 to 1700.
36 inches (91.59 cm). Rarely used except with English units, although it appears in an Act of Parliament from 1432: "The king's officer, as is foresaid, shall have a horn, and each one a red wand of three-quarters of a yard at least."
The ell (Latin: ulna) was the basic unit of length, equal to 37 inches (94.13 cm). The "Barony ell" of 42 inches (106.9 cm) was used as the basis for land measurement in the Four Towns area near Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire.
320 falls or 5920 feet (1807 m), but varied from place to place. Obsolete by the 19th century.
A number of conflicting systems were used for area, sometimes bearing the same names in different regions, but working on different conversion rates. Because some of the systems were based on what land would produce, rather than the physical area, they are listed in their own section. Please see individual articles for more specific information. Because fertility varied widely, in many areas, production was considered a more practical measure.
Area by size
For information on the squared units, please see the appropriate articles in the length section
Weights and Measures, by D. Richard Torrance, SAFHS, Edinburgh, 1996, ISBN1-874722-09-9 (NB book focuses on Scottish weights and measures exclusively)
This article incorporates text from "Dwelly's [Scottish] Gaelic Dictionary" (1911).
Scottish National Dictionary and Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue
Weights and Measures in Scotland: A European Perspective R. D. Connor, et al. National Museum of Scotland and Tuckwell Press, NMSE Publishing, 2004, ISBN1-901663-88-4
^Simpson, A. D. C. (2005), "Interpreting Scots measurement terms: a cautionary tale", in Kay, Christian J.; Mackay, Margaret A. (eds.), Perspectives on the Older Scottish Tongue, Edinburgh: University Press, pp. 139–52.
^ abConnor, R. D.; Simpson, A. D. C. (2004), Weights and Measures in Scotland: A European Perspective, Edinburgh: NMS/Tuckwell Press, ISBN978-1-901663-88-4.