Medieval Monday!

The Weaving Word

A furlong measures 1/8 of a mile, but where did that measurement originate? The word dates back to the 9th century, and is “a furrow long”—the distance eight oxen in a plow team can work without rest.

Plowing with Oxen

Other medieval measurements you may not have heard of:

Ell – A measurement of length, from the tip of the middle finger to the elbow.

Gill – a small liquid measure, ranging from a modern shot glass to 1/4 of a pint.

Nail – (1) A measure of weight for wool and beef, equivalent to about 8 pounds. (2) A measure of land. (3) A measure of length for cloth, approximately 1/16th of a yard.
“The precise origin of this sense is not clear. The use of the nail in early examples suggests that one sixteenth from the end of the yard-stick may have been marked by a nail.” (OED)

Span – The distance from…

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I am an artist, accountant and author living in western New York, transplanted from Denmark, Michigan, Florida, West Virginia, Pennsylvania (in that order!) I love the beauty of the world and sharing it with others through jewelry, photography, digital painting and writing.

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