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Unit system imperial/US  units
Unit of Length
1 yd in ...... is equal to ...
   Imperial/US units   3  ft
36  in
    Metric (SI) units   0.9144  m
The informal public imperial measurement standards erected at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London, in the 19th century: 1 British yard, 2 feet, 1 foot, 6 inches, and 3 inches. The inexact monument was designed to permit rods of the correct measure to fit snugly into its pins at an ambient temperature of 62 degF (16.66 degC). Imperial Standards of Length, Greenwich.jpg
The informal public imperial measurement standards erected at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London, in the 19th century: 1 British yard, 2 feet, 1 foot, 6 inches, and 3 inches. The inexact monument was designed to permit rods of the correct measure to fit snugly into its pins at an ambient temperature of 62  °F (16.66  °C).
Bronze Yard No.11, the official standard of length for the United States between 1855 and 1892, when the Treasury Department formally adopted a metric standard. Bronze Yard No.11 was forged to be an exact copy of the British Imperial Standard Yard held by Parliament. Both are line standards: the yard was defined by the distance at 62degF between two fine lines drawn on gold plugs (closeup, top) installed in recesses near each end of the bar. Bronze Yard No. 11.jpg
Bronze Yard No.11, the official standard of length for the United States between 1855 and 1892, when the Treasury Department formally adopted a metric standard. Bronze Yard No.11 was forged to be an exact copy of the British Imperial Standard Yard held by Parliament. Both are line standards: the yard was defined by the distance at 62°F between two fine lines drawn on gold plugs (closeup, top) installed in recesses near each end of the bar.
Two yardsticks, used for measuring "yard goods" Yardstick.jpg
Two yardsticks, used for measuring "yard goods"

The yard (symbol: yd) [3] [4] is an English unit of length in both the British imperial and US customary systems of measurement equalling 3  feet or 36  inches. Since 1959 it has been by international agreement standardized as exactly 0.9144  meter. A distance of 1,760 yards is equal to 1 mile.


The US survey yard is very slightly longer.


The term, yard derives from the Old English gerd, gyrd etc., which was used for branches, staves and measuring rods. [5] It is first attested in the late 7th century laws of Ine of Wessex, [6] where the "yard of land" mentioned [6] is the yardland, an old English unit of tax assessment equal to 14  hide. [n 1] Around the same time the Lindisfarne Gospels account of the messengers from John the Baptist in the Gospel of Matthew [7] used it for a branch swayed by the wind. [5] In addition to the yardland, Old and Middle English both used their forms of "yard" to denote the surveying lengths of 15 feet (4.6 m) or 16.5 feet (5.0 m), used in computing acres, a distance now usually known as the "rod". [5]

A unit of three English feet is attested in a statute of c.1300 (see below), but there it is called an ell (ulna, lit. "arm"), a separate and usually longer unit of around 45 inches (1,100 mm). The use of the word ‘yard’ (Middle English : ȝerd or ȝerde) to describe this length is first attested in William Langland's poem on Piers Plowman. [5] [n 2] The usage seems to derive from the prototype standard rods held by the king and his magistrates (see below).

The word ‘yard’ is a homonym of ‘yard’ in the sense of an enclosed area of land. This second meaning of ‘yard’ has an etymology related to the word ‘garden’ and is not related to the unit of measurement. [10] [11]



The origin of the yard measure is uncertain. Both the Romans and the Welsh used multiples of a shorter foot, but 2+12  Roman feet was a "step" (Latin: gradus) and 3  Welsh feet was a "pace" (Welsh : cam). The Proto-Germanic cubit or arm's-length has been reconstructed as *alinâ, which developed into the Old English ęln, Middle English elne, and modern ell of 1.25 yd (1.14 m). This has led some to derive the yard of three English feet from pacing; others from the ell or cubit; and still others from Henry I's arm standard (see below). Based on the etymology of the other "yard", some suggest it originally derived from the girth of a person's waist, while others believe it originated as a cubic measure.[ citation needed ] One official British report writes:

The standard of measure has always been taken either from some part of the human body, such as a foot, the length of the arm, the span of the hand, or from other natural objects, such as a barleycorn, or other kind of grain. But the yard was the original standard adopted by the early English sovereigns, and has been supposed to be founded upon the breadth of the chest of the Saxon race. The yard continued till the reign of Henry VII., when the ell was introduced, that being a yard and a quarter, or 45 inches. The ell was borrowed from the Paris drapers. Subsequently, however, Queen Elizabeth re-introduced the yard as the English standard of measure. [12]

From ell to yard

The earliest record of a prototype measure is the statute II Edgar Cap. 8 (AD 959 x 963), which survives in several variant manuscripts. In it, Edgar the Peaceful directed the Witenagemot at Andover that "the measure held at Winchester" should be observed throughout his realm. [13] (Some manuscripts read "at London and at Winchester".) [14] [15] The statutes of William I similarly refer to and uphold the standard measures of his predecessors without naming them.

William of Malmesbury's Deeds of the Kings of England records that during the reign of Henry I (1100 - 1135), "the measure of his arm was applied to correct the false ell of the traders and enjoined on all throughout England." [16] The folktale that the length was bounded by the king's nose [17] was added some centuries later. C.M. Watson dismisses William's account as "childish", [18] but William was among the most conscientious and trustworthy medieval historians. [19] The French "king's foot" was supposed to have derived from Charlemagne, [19] and the English kings subsequently repeatedly intervened to impose shorter units with the aim of increasing tax revenue.[ citation needed ]

The earliest surviving definition of this shorter unit appears in the Act on the Composition of Yards and Perches, one of the statutes of uncertain date [n 3] tentatively dated to the reign of Edward I or II c.1300. Its wording varies in surviving accounts. One reads: [21]

It is ordained that 3 grains of barley dry and round do make an inch, 12 inches make 1 foot, 3 feet make 1 yard, 5 yards and a half make a perch, and 40 perches in length and 4 in breadth make an acre.

The Liber Horn compilation (1311) includes that statute with slightly different wording and adds: [22]

And be it remembered that the iron yard of our Lord the King containeth 3 feet and no more, and a foot ought to contain 12 inches by the right measure of this yard measured, to wit, the 36th part of this yard rightly measured maketh 1 inch neither more nor less and 5 yards and a half make a perch that is 16 feet and a half measured by the aforesaid yard of our Lord the King.

In some early books, this act was appended to another statute of uncertain date titled the Statute for the Measuring of Land. The act was not repealed until the Weights and Measures Act of 1824. [24]

Yard and inch

In a law of 1439 (18 Henry VI. Cap. 16.) the sale of cloth by the "yard and handful" was abolished, and the "yard and inch" instituted. [25]

There shall be but one Measure of Cloth through the Realm by the Yard and the Inch, and not by the Yard and Handful, according to the London Measure.

According to Connor, [26] cloth merchants had previously sold cloth by the yard and handful to evade high taxes on cloth (the extra handful being essentially a black-market transaction). Enforcement efforts resulted in cloth merchants switching over to the yard and inch, at which point the government gave up and made the yard and inch official. In 1552, the yard and inch for cloth measurement was again sanctioned in law (5 & 6 Edward VI Cap. 6. An Act for the true making of Woolen Cloth.) [27]

XIV. And that all and every Broad Cloth and Clothes called Taunton Clothes, Bridgwaters, and other Clothes which shall be made after the said Feast in Taunton, Bridgwater or in other Places of like Sort, shall contain at the Water in Length betwixt twelve and thirteen Yards, Yard and Inch of the Rule, and in Breadth seven Quarters of a Yard: (2) And every narrow Cloth made after the said Feast in the said Towns or elsewhere of like Sorts, shall contain in the Water in Length betwixt three and twenty and five and twenty Yards, Yard and Inch as is aforesaid, and in Breadth one Yard of like Measure; (3) and every such Cloth, both Broad and Narrow being well scowred, thicked, milled and fully dried, shall weigh xxxiv. li. the Piece at the least.

XV. And that all Clothes named Check-Kersie and Straits, which shall be made after the said Feast shall contain being wet between seventeen and eighteen Yards, with the Inches as is aforesaid, and in Breadth one Yard at the least at the Water; and being well scowred, thicked, milled and fully dried, shall weigh xxiv. li. the Piece at the least.

The yard and inch for cloth measurement was also sanctioned again in legislation of 1557–1558 (4 & 5 Philip and Mary Cap. 5. An act touching the making of woolen clothes. par. IX.) [28]

IX. Item, That every ordinary kersie mentioned in the said act shall contain in length in the water betwixt xvi. and xvii. yards, yard and inch; and being well scoured thicked, milled, dressed and fully dried, shall weigh nineteen pounds the piece at the least:...

As recently as 1593, the same principle is found mentioned once again (35 Elizabeth. Cap. 10. An act for the reformation of sundry abuses in clothes, called Devonshire kerjies [ sic ] or dozens, according to a proclamation of the thirty-fourth year of the reign of our sovereign lady the Queen that now is. par. III.) [29]

(2) and each and every of the same Devonshire kersies or dozens, so being raw, and as it cometh forth off the weaver's loom (without racking, stretching, straining or other device to encrease the length thereof) shall contain in length between fifteen and sixteen yards by the measure of yard and inch by the rule,...

Physical standards

One of the oldest yard-rods in existence is the clothyard of the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors. It consists of a hexagonal iron rod 58 in (16 mm) in diameter and 1100 in (0.25 mm) short of a yard, encased within a silver rod bearing the hallmark 1445. [26] [30] In the early 15th century, the Merchant Taylors Company was authorized to "make search" at the opening of the annual St. Bartholomew's Day Cloth Fair. [31] [32] In the mid-18th century, Graham[ who? ] compared the standard yard of the Royal Society to other existing standards. These were a "long-disused" standard made in 1490 during the reign of Henry VII, [33] and a brass yard and a brass ell from 1588 in the time of Queen Elizabeth and still in use at the time, held at the Exchequer; [34] a brass yard and a brass ell at the Guildhall; and a brass yard presented to the Clock-Makers' Company by the Exchequer in 1671. [35] The Exchequer yard was taken as "true"; the variation was found to be +120 to −115 of an inch, and an additional graduation for the Exchequer yard was made on the Royal Society's standard. [35] In 1758 the legislature required the construction of a standard yard, which was made from the Royal Society's standard and was deposited with the clerk of the House of Commons; it was divided into feet, one of the feet into inches, and one of the inches into tenths. [35] A copy of it, but with upright cheeks between which other measuring rods could be placed, was made for the Exchequer for commercial use. [35] [36]

19th-century Britain

Following Royal Society investigations by John Playfair, Hyde Wollaston and John Warner in 1814 a committee of parliament proposed defining the standard yard based upon the length of a seconds pendulum. This idea was examined but not approved. [37] The Weights and Measures Act of 1824 (5° George IV. Cap. 74.) An Act for ascertaining and establishing Uniformity of Weights and Measures stipulates that: [38]

From and after the First Day of May One thousand eight hundred and twenty five the Straight Line or Distance between the Centres of the Two Points in the Gold Studs of the Straight Brass Rod now in the Custody of the Clerk of the House of Commons whereon the Words and Figures "Standard Yard 1760" are engraved shall be and the same is hereby declared to be the original and genuine Standard of that Measure of Length or lineal Extension called a Yard; and that the same Straight Line or Distance between the Centres of the said Two Points in the said Gold Studs in the said Brass Rod the Brass being at the Temperature of Sixty two Degrees by Fahrenheit's Thermometer shall be and is hereby denominated the Imperial Standard Yard and shall be and is hereby declared to be the Unit or only Standard Measure of Extension, wherefrom or whereby all other Measures of Extension whatsoever, whether the same be lineal, superficial or solid, shall be derived, computed and ascertained; and that all Measures of Length shall be taken in Parts or Multiples, or certain Proportions of the said Standard Yard; and that One third Part of the said Standard Yard shall be a Foot, and the Twelfth Part of such Foot shall be an Inch; and that the Pole or Perch in Length shall contain Five such Yards and a Half, the Furlong Two hundred and twenty such Yards, and the Mile One thousand seven hundred and sixty such Yards.

In 1834, the primary Imperial yard standard was partially destroyed in a fire known as the Burning of Parliament. [39] [n 4] . In 1838, a commission [n 5] was formed to reconstruct the lost standards, including the troy pound, which had also been destroyed. [43] In 1845, a new yard standard was constructed based on two previously existing standards known as A1 and A2, both of which had been made for the Ordnance Survey, and R.S. 46, the yard of the Royal Astronomical Society. All three had been compared to the Imperial standard before the fire.

The new standard was made of Baily's metal No. 4 consisting of 16 parts copper, 2+12 parts tin, and 1 part zinc. It was 38 inches long and 1 inch square. The Weights and Measures Act of 1855 granted official recognition to the new standards. Between 1845 and 1855 forty yard standards were constructed, one of which was selected as the new Imperial standard. Four others, known as Parliamentary Copies, were distributed to The Royal Mint, The Royal Society of London, The Royal Observatory at Greenwich, and the New Palace at Westminster, commonly called the Houses of Parliament. [44] The other 35 yard standards were distributed to the cities of London, Edinburgh, and Dublin, as well as the United States and other countries (although only the first five had official status). [45] The imperial standard received by the United States is known as "Bronze Yard No. 11" [46]

The Weights and Measures Act 1878 confirmed the status of the existing yard standard, mandated regular intercomparisons between the several yard standards, and authorized the construction of one additional Parliamentary Copy (made in 1879 and known as Parliamentary Copy VI). [47]

Definition of the yard in terms of the meter

Subsequent measurements revealed that the yard standard and its copies were shrinking at the rate of one part per million every twenty years due to the gradual release of strain incurred during the fabrication process. [48] [49] The international prototype meter, on the other hand, was comparatively stable. A measurement made in 1895 determined the length of the meter at 39.370113 inches relative to the imperial standard yard. The Weights and Measures (Metric) Act of 1897 [50] in conjunction with Order in Council 411 (1898) made this relationship official. After 1898, the de facto legal definition of the yard came to be accepted as 3639.370113 of a meter.

The yard (known as the "international yard" in the United States) was legally defined to be exactly 0.9144 meter in 1959 under an agreement in 1959 between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. [51] In the UK, the provisions of the treaty were ratified by the Weights and Measures Act of 1963. The Imperial Standard Yard of 1855 was renamed the United Kingdom Primary Standard Yard and retained its official status as the national prototype yard. [52] [53]

Current use

In UK road signs, shorter distances (such as Picnic area 150 yards ahead) are given in yards, with longer distances given in miles UK traffic sign 2305.svg
In UK road signs, shorter distances (such as Picnic area 150 yards ahead) are given in yards, with longer distances given in miles

The yard is used as the standard unit of field-length measurement in American, [54] Canadian [55] and association football, [56] cricket pitch dimensions, [57] and in some countries, golf fairway measurements.

There are corresponding units of area and volume, the square yard and cubic yard respectively. These are sometimes referred to simply as "yards" when no ambiguity is possible, for example an American or Canadian concrete mixer may be marked with a capacity of "9 yards" or "1.5 yards", where cubic yards are obviously referred to.

Yards are also used and are the legal requirement on road signs for shorter distances in the United Kingdom, and are also frequently found in conversation between Britons much like in the United States for distance. [58]

Textiles and fat quarters

The yard, subdivided into eighths, is used for the purchase of fabrics in the United States and United Kingdom [59] [n 6] and was previously used elsewhere. In the United States the term "fat quarter" is used for a piece of fabric which is half a yard in length cut from a roll and then cut again along the width so that it is only half the width of the roll, thus the same area as a piece of one quarter yard cut from the full width of the roll; these pieces are popular for patchwork and quilting. [61] The term "fat eighth" is also used, for a piece of one quarter yard from half the roll width, the same area as one eighth cut from the roll. [62]


For purposes of measuring cloth, the early yard was divided by the binary method into two, four, eight and sixteen parts. [63] The two most common divisions were the fourth and sixteenth parts. The quarter of a yard (9 inches) was known as the "quarter" without further qualification, while the sixteenth of a yard (2.25 inches) was called a nail. [64] The eighth of a yard (4.5 inches) was sometimes called a finger, [65] but was more commonly referred to simply as an eighth of a yard, while the half-yard (18 inches) was called "half a yard". [66]

Other units related to the yard, but not specific to cloth measurement: two yards are a fathom, a quarter of a yard (when not referring to cloth) is a span. [67]


1250 (international) yards = 1143 meters
1 (international) yard = 0.9144 meters (exact) [70]
1 (international) statute mile = 8 international furlongs = 80 international chains = 1760 (international) yards
For survey purposes, certain pre-1959 units were retained, usually prefaced by the word "survey," among them the survey inch, survey foot, and survey mile, also known as the statute mile. The rod and furlong exist only in their pre-1959 form and are thus not prefaced by the word "survey." However, it is not clear if a "survey yard" actually exists. [72] If it did, its hypothetical values would be as follows:
3937 survey yards = 3600 meters [71]
1 survey yard ≈ 0.91440183 meters [71]
1 survey mile = 8 furlongs = 80 chains = 1760 survey yards
500,000 (international) yards = 499,999 survey yards = 457,200 meters
1 (international) yard = 0.999998 survey yards (exact) [71]
1 (international) mile = 0.999998 survey miles(exact)

See also


  1. The later Latin gloss virgata terre describes it as "branched".
  2. Middle English: Thanne drowe I me amonges draperes · my donet to lerne / To drawe þe lyser alonge [·] þe lenger it semed / Amonge þe riche rayes · I rendred a lessoun / To broche hem with a bat-nedle · and plaited hem togyderes / And put hem in a presse · and pyned hem þerinne / Tyl ten ȝerdes or twelue · tolled out threttene [8]
    Translation: "Then tarried I amongst drapers · my grammar to learn; /To draw the selvedge along · the longer it seemed; /Among the rich ranged cloths · rendered a lesson, / To pierce them with a pack-needle · and plait them together, / Put them in a press · and pin them therein / Till ten yards or twelve · had tolled out to thirteen. [9]
  3. Although not originally statutes, the statutes of an uncertain date were eventually accepted as such with the passage of time.
  4. The following references are useful for identifying the authors of the preceding reference: Ref., [40] Ref., [41] and Ref. [42]
  5. Whose report was referenced in Ref. [39]
  6. In the United Kingdom fabric may be sold by the yard if the equivalent metric measure is also given. Major shops sell by the meter. [60]

Related Research Articles

Acre Unit of area

The acre is a unit of land area used in the imperial and US customary systems. It is traditionally defined as the area of one chain by one furlong, which is exactly equal to 10 square chains, 1640 of a square mile, 4,840 square yards, or 43,560 square feet, and approximately 4,047 m2, or about 40% of a hectare. Based upon the international yard and pound agreement of 1959, an acre may be declared as exactly 4,046.8564224 square metres. The acre is sometimes abbreviated ac, but is usually spelled out as the word "acre".

Furlong Unit of length equal to 660 feet or about 201 metres

A furlong is a measure of distance in imperial units and United States customary units equal to one eighth of a mile, equivalent to 660 feet, 220 yards, 40 rods, 10 chains or approximately 201 metres. It is now almost obsolete, except in horse racing, where in many countries it is the standard measurement of race lengths.

Inch Unit of length

The inch is a unit of length in the British imperial and the United States customary systems of measurement. It is equal to 1/36 yard or 1/12 of a foot. Derived from the Roman uncia ("twelfth"), the word inch is also sometimes used to translate similar units in other measurement systems, usually understood as deriving from the width of the human thumb.

Imperial units System of units that were implemented on 1 January 1826 in the British Empire

The imperial system of units, imperial system or imperial units is the system of units first defined in the British Weights and Measures Act 1824 and continued to be developed through a series of Weights and Measures Acts and amendments.

Mile Unit of length

The mile, sometimes the international mile or statute mile to distinguish it from other miles, is a British imperial unit and United States customary unit of distance; both are based on the older English unit of length equal to 5,280 English feet, or 1,760 yards. The statute mile was standardised between the British Commonwealth and the United States by an international agreement in 1959, when it was formally redefined with respect to SI units as exactly 1,609.344 metres.

The pound or pound-mass is a unit of mass used in British imperial and United States customary systems of measurement. Various definitions have been used; the most common today is the international avoirdupois pound, which is legally defined as exactly 0.45359237 kilograms, and which is divided into 16 avoirdupois ounces. The international standard symbol for the avoirdupois pound is lb; an alternative symbol is lbm, #, and or ″̶.

The foot (pl. feet), standard symbol: ft, is a unit of length in the British imperial and United States customary systems of measurement. The prime symbol, , is a customarily used alternative symbol. Since the International Yard and Pound Agreement of 1959, one foot is defined as 0.3048 meters exactly. In both customary and imperial units, one foot comprises 12 inches and one yard comprises three feet.

The rod, perch, or pole is a surveyor's tool and unit of length of various historical definitions, often between approximately 3 and 8 meters. In modern US customary units it is defined as 16+12 US survey feet, equal to exactly 1320 of a surveyor's mile, or a quarter of a surveyor's chain, and is approximately 5.0292 meters. The rod is useful as a unit of length because whole number multiples of it can form one acre of square measure (area). The 'perfect acre' is a rectangular area of 43,560 square feet, bounded by sides 660 feet long and 66 feet wide or, equivalently, 40 rods and 4 rods. An acre is therefore 160 square rods or 10 square chains.

Ell Unit of length

An ell is a northwestern European unit of measurement, originally understood as a cubit. The word literally means "arm", and survives in form of the modern English word "elbow" (arm-bend). Later usage through the 19th century refers to several longer units, some of which are thought to derive from a "double ell".

Link (unit)

The link, sometimes called a Gunter’s link, is a unit of length formerly used in many English-speaking countries. In US customary units modern definition, the link is exactly 66100 of a US survey foot, or exactly 7.92 inches or approximately 20.12 cm.

English units are the units of measurement used in England up to 1826, which evolved as a combination of the Anglo-Saxon and Roman systems of units. Various standards have applied to English units at different times, in different places, and for different applications.

Dutch units of measurement

The Dutch units of measurement used today are those of the metric system. Before the 19th century, a wide variety of different weights and measures were used by the various Dutch towns and provinces. Despite the country's small size, there was a lack of uniformity. During the Dutch Golden Age, these weights and measures accompanied the Dutch to the farthest corners of their colonial empire, including South Africa, New Amsterdam and the Dutch East Indies. Units of weight included the pond, ons and last. There was also an apothecaries' system of weights. The mijl and roede were measurements of distance. Smaller distances were measured in units based on parts of the body – the el, the voet, the palm and the duim. Area was measured by the morgen, hont, roede and voet. Units of volume included the okshoofd, aam, anker, stoop, and mingel. At the start of the 19th century the Dutch adopted a unified metric system, but it was based on a modified version of the metric system, different from the system used today. In 1869, this was realigned with the international metric system. These old units of measurement have disappeared, but they remain a colourful legacy of the Netherlands' maritime and commercial importance and survive today in a number of Dutch sayings and expressions.

Scottish units Obsolete units of measurement formerly used in Scotland

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.

Weights and Measures Acts (UK) Laws of the British Parliament determining the regulation of weights and measures

Weights and measures acts are acts of the British Parliament determining the regulation of weights and measures. It also refers to similar royal and parliamentary acts of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland and the medieval Welsh states. The earliest of these were originally untitled but were given descriptive glosses or titles based upon the monarch under whose reign they were promulgated. Several omnibus modern acts are entitled the Weights and Measures Act and are distinguished by the year of their enactment.

Winchester measure is a set of legal standards of volume instituted in the late 15th century (1495) by King Henry VII of England and in use, with some modifications, until the present day. It consists of the Winchester bushel and its dependent quantities, the peck, (dry) gallon and (dry) quart. They would later become known as the Winchester Standards, named because the examples were kept in the city of Winchester.

The Composition of Yards and Perches or the Statute of Ells and Perches was a medieval English statute defining the length of the barleycorn, inch, foot, yard, and perch, as well as the area of the acre. Its date has been estimated at 1266–1303.

The international yard and pound are two units of measurement that were the subject of an agreement among representatives of six nations signed on 1 July 1959; the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The agreement defined the yard as exactly 0.9144 meters and the (avoirdupois) pound as exactly 0.45359237 kilograms.

Imperial and US customary measurement systems English (pre 1824), Imperial (post 1824) and US Customary (post 1776) units of measure

The imperial and US customary measurement systems are both derived from an earlier English system of measurement which in turn can be traced back to Ancient Roman units of measurement, and Carolingian and Saxon units of measure.

The quarter is used as the name of several distinct English units based on ¼ sizes of some base unit.

The Exchequer Standards may refer to the set of official English standards for weights and measures created by Queen Elizabeth I, and in effect from 1588 to 1825, when the Imperial Units system took effect, or to the whole range of English unit standards maintained by the Court of the Exchequer from the 1200s, or to the physical reference standards physically kept at the Exchequer and used as the legal reference until the such responsibility was transferred in the 1860s, after the Imperial system had been established.



  1. Bennett (2004), p. 8.
  2. Ewart (1862), pp. 112–113.
  3. "Recommended Unit Symbols, SI Prefixes, and Abbreviations" (PDF). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  4. BS350:Part 1:1974 Conversion factors and tables Part 1. Basis of tables. Conversion factors. British Standards Institution. 1974. pp. 5, 100.
  5. 1 2 3 4 OED (1921), "yard, n.2".
  6. 1 2 Thorpe (1840), p. 63.
  7. Matthew 11:7
  8. Langland (1377), Ch. 5:ll, lines 211–216.
  9. Attwater (1957), p. 38.
  10. OED (1921), "yard, n.1".
  11. OED (1921), "gird, v.1".
  12. Report from the Select Committee on Weights and Measures; together with the Proceedings of the Committee, Minutes of Evidence, Appendix and Index. London. 4 August 1862.
  13. Thorpe (1840).
  14. Thorpe (1840), p. 113.
  15. Liebermann (1903), p. 204–206.
  16. Giles 1866, p. 445.
  17. Green (1986), p. 106.
  18. Watson (1910), pp. 36–39.
  19. 1 2 Connor (1987), p. xxiv.
  20. Ruffhead (1765), p. 421.
  21. BL Cotton MS Claudius D2, cited and translated in Ruffhead. [20]
  22. Fowler (1884), p. 276.
  23. Statutes (1824), p. 349.
  24. 5 George IV C. 74, §24. [23]
  25. Statutes at Large. 1763. p. 594.
  26. 1 2 Connor (1987).
  27. Owen Ruffhead, ed. (1763). The statutes at large. Vol. 2. p. 442.
  28. Great Britain; Pickering, Danby (1763). Danby Pickering (ed.). The statutes at large. Vol. 6. Printed by J. Bentham. p. 96.
  29. Great Britain; Pickering, Danby (1763). The statutes at large. Vol. 6. Printed by J. Bentham. p. 444.
  30. Robinson, Sir John Charles; Victoria and Albert museum (1863). Catalogue of the special exhibition of works of art of the mediæval, Renaissance, and more recent periods, on loan at the South Kensington museum, June 1862. Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode, printers to the Queen's most excellent Majesty. For Her Majesty's Stationery Office. p. 452.
  31. William Carew Hazlitt (1892). The livery companies of the city of London: their origin, character, development, and social and political importance. S. Sonnenschein & co. p.  280.
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  33. Warden of the Standards (1873). Seventh annual report of the Warden of the Standards, on the proceedings and business of the standard weights and measures department of the Board of Trade, for 1872–73, Appendix III. Vol. 38. House of Commons. p. 34. (pp 374 of book)
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  35. 1 2 3 4 Knight, Charles (1840). The Penny magazine of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, Volume 9. London: Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. pp. 221–2. In 1758 the legislature turned attention to this subject; and after some investigations on the comparative lengths of the various standards, ordered a rod to be made of brass, about 38 or 39 inches long, and graduated from the Royal Society's yard : this was marked "Standard Yard, 1758," and was laid by in the care of the clerk of the House of Commons. For commercial purposes another bar was made, with the yard marked off from the same standard; but it had two upright fixed cheeks, placed exactly a yard asunder, between which any commercial yard measures might be placed, in order to have their accuracy tested : it was graduated into feet, one of the feet into inches, and one of the inches into ten parts. This standard was to be kept at the Exchequer. In 1760, a copy of Bird's standard, made two years before, was constructed.
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  39. 1 2 G. B. Airy; F. Baily; J. E. D. Bethune; J. F. W. Herschel; J. G. S. Lefevre; J. W. Lubbock; G. Peacock; R. Sheepshanks (1841). Report of the Commissioners appointed to consider the steps to be taken for restoration of the standards of weight & measure (Report). London: W. Clowes and Sons for Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Retrieved 20 April 2020. We shall in the first place describe the state of the Standards recovered from the ruins of the House of Commons, as ascertained in our inspection of them made on 1st June, 1838, at the Journal Office… No. 1. A brass bar marked “Standard [G. II. crown emblem] Yard, 1758,” which on examination was found to have its right hand stud perfect, with the point and line visible, but with its left hand stud completely melted out, a hole only remaining. The bar was somewhat bent, and discoloured in every part. No. 2. A brass bar with a projecting cock at each end, forming a bed for the trial of yard-measures; discoloured. No. 3. A brass bar marked “Standard [G. II. crown emblem] Yard, 1760,” from which the left hand stud was completely melted out, and which in other respects was in the same condition as No. 1. No. 4. A yard-bed similar to No. 2; discoloured. … It appears from this list that the bar adopted in the Act 5th Geo. IV., cap. 74, sect. 1, for the legal standard of one yard, (No. 3 of the preceding list), is so far injured, that it is impossible to ascertain from it, with the most moderate accuracy, the statutable length of one yard. … We have therefore to report that it is absolutely necessary that steps be taken for the formation and legalizing of new Standards of Length and Weight.
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