View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Tuesday 24 April

Another bright day, but the northeasterly wind is now strong, making the 8C on the thermometer feel even colder than it already is. Fortunately, it being late April, the sunshine compensates.

I am continuing to transcribe a 1902 report into the condition of local crofters, and am coming across some unusual units of measurement. When meal is being doled out, it is measured in bolls, and I'm actually yet to find out how much that is in kilos or pounds. Worse than that, bolls are subdivided into seteen, pecks and lippies. However, when I started to research the issue on the Net, I came across a bewildering array of units, which varied from town to town in the 17th century. In Orkney, a barrel equates to so many lispund. Then there is such a thing as a Last, being subdivided into a chalder, a boll, a firkin, a peck and a lip. The mind boggles, and there is a document full of that. The Earl of Orkney was being taken to task over the fact that his lispunds were make up of 18 lips, rather than 15. Still with me? Me neither. I'll find out more.

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