crannock

In Ireland and the West of England, a unit of dry capacity, at least as early as the 13th – 19th centuries. The word is of Celtic origin and the measure may be also. It is identified with a basket lined with skins.

In Ireland, the crannock or crannoc of wheat ranged from 8 pecks to 8 bushels; of oats 7 to 16 bushels. One crannock was considered sufficient capacity to hold the wheat from 17 sheaves.

In Wales, generally 10 bushels. Also spelled crynog. A government survey¹ of 1820 found the crannock was used for lime in Wales, the value varying by location: at Cardiff = 4 llestraid = 10 Winchester bushels; at Cowbridge and Bridge-end, 11 Winchester bushels; at Neath and Swansea, 12 Winchester bushels. If the lime is slaked, one-fourth more is allowed than would be given of unslaked lime.

1. Second Report of the Commissioners appointed to consider the Subject of Weights and Measures, 13 July 1820.
Parliamentary Papers 1820, (HC314) vii.

Page 14.

sources

1

Repeated attempts to establish uniformity of weights and measures in the Anglo-Norman settlement would appear, as in England, to have been attended with little success. Under the Magna Carta of 1216 the weights and measures of Dublin were declared to be the standards for Ireland; but some years later, observance of the standard of London was ordered by viceroy and council.

Notwithstanding these and similar regulations we find that the Irish crannoc¹ was in general use, named in royal writs, and accepted in the exchequer at Dublin as a measure for grain, pea, beans, woad, coals, salt, and other articles.

1. The crannoc, according to Harris, “was a basket or hamper for holding corn, made of twigs, and lined with the skin of a beast, of no certain dimensions, but was generally understood to hold the produce of seven score sheaves of corn, which must be an uncertain measure, since seven score sheaves growing on a good soil amounts to a considerably larger quantity, than as many growing on indifferent land. Perhaps,” continued Harris, “it generally amounted to the quantity of the barrel of Bristol, brought into use in Ireland since the English got footing there; from whence often occurs in history the term crannock, corrupted, as may be supposed, from the Irish word cronnog, aforesaid.” —Works of Sir J. Ware, Dublin, 1745, ii., 223. Sir W. Betham stated that “a crannock was sixteen bushels or two quarters.” Irish Antiquarian Researches, 1827, 5.

From the following extracts from memorandum rolls of the exchequer of Edward ii. in Ireland, it will be seen that the crannoc of wheat was specified variously at from eight bushels to eight pecks; and the crannoc of oats from seven to fourteen bushels, and from fifteen to sixteen pecks.

“Quinque crannocs frumenti torelliati, boni, sicci et mundi, de mensura septem bussellorum cumulatorum pro quolibet crannoco.” — ix. Edward ii., m. 48.

“Crannoco [frumenti], videlicet, mensurato per septem bussellos rasos et octavum bussellum cumulatum.” — xiii. Edward ii. m. 9, in dorso.

“Pro quodlibet crannoco per octo bussellos cumulatos frumenti.” — xvi. — xvii. Edward ii. m. 28 in dorso.

“Quodlibet, videlicet, crannoco [frumenti] continente octo pecks, cumulatos, boni, sicci et mundi bladi.” — xiii. Edward ii., m. 8. The specification of eight pecks as the quantity in a crannoc of wheat will be further found on the same roll, m.m. 8, 19 & 21. 

The references to crannocs of oats are as follow:—

“Quinque crannocos avenarum, boni et mundi bladi, quindecim bussellos cumulatos, pro quolibet crannoco.” —ix. Ed. ii.m.48.

“Quilibet crannocus [avenarum] continebit quidecim pecks cumulatos boni et mundi bladi.” — xiii. Edward ii. m. 8. in dorso.

“Quiquidem crannocus [avenarum] continebit sexdecum pecks cumulatos boni, sicci et mundi bladi.” — ib. m.19 in dorso.

“Quolibet crannoco continente quidecim bussellos avenarum boni et mundi bladi.” — ib. m. 21, in dorso.

“Pro quolibet crannoco avenarum per quatuordecim bussellos cumulatos.” — xvi.—xvii. Edward ii. m. 28, in dorso. The same membrane contains a copy of a stipulation for delivery of corn at Beaumaris for Edward ii., “per certam mensuram apud Dublin usitatum.”

John T. Gilbert.
Historic and Municipal Documents of Ireland, A.D. 1172-1320, from the Archives of the City of Dublin, etc.
London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1870.
Pages xxxiv-xxxv.

2

In Ireland the crannockc is used instead of the quarter. It is, however, plainly identical with it, being divided into the same number of bushels and pecks. It is to be observed, however, that the Irish crannock of oats contained sixteen bushels. This duplication of the quarter of oats is found in English measures, as at Dengmarsh in 1285, Pevensey and Lecton in 1291, [et cetera]

c. According to Arthur Young, Southern Tour, p. 165, this measure was used at Glamorganshire in his time. It is possible, therefore, that the name, the capacity of which has been wholly misunderstood, is of Welsh origin, and transmitted from Wales to the Pale, Bigod having inherited some of Strongbow's conquests.

James E. Thorold Rogers.
A History of Agriculture and Prices in England. Vol. 1.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1882.
Page 167.

3

At Worcester the Cronnus or Cronn of 4 bushels was in use during the thirteenth century⁷, and the Crannock, a common dry measure in the West of England and Ireland, was evidently the same⁸. Against this conclusion, it must be noticed that the “crannok” of the Wardrobe Book of Edward I was reckoned at 2 quarters⁹, but this was for oats, and for oats measures seem to have been doubled, as we learn from Rogers' price lists. The Irish crannock of oats was 2 quarters, and of wheat one, and the sum of oats (Wales, Bedfordshire and Norfolk) was also 2 quarters or 24 Trugg¹⁰.

7. Reg. Worcester, pp. 43 a, 49 a, XXXVII, LXXI.

8. C[alendar of] P[atent] R[olls]. 1281-1292, p. 481.

9. Wardrobe Book, p. 125 : "Brasei auene."

10. Rogers, II, pp. 16-33, 41, 148-149; III, pp. 43, 29.

W. H. Prior.
Notes on the weights and measures of Medieval England.
Bulletin du Cange. Archivvm Latinitatis Medii Aevi, vol. 1.
Paris: Librairie Ancienne Edouard Champion, 1924.
Page 157.

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