firlot

In Scotland, 14th – 18th centuries, a unit of dry capacity. Also spelled firlet.

The firlot was the fundamental unit in the Scottish system of dry capacity measures, but varied considerably regionally. By an act of 1617, the commissioners' firlot of Linlithgow was made the standard for the whole country, but in fact two units were defined. The first, which “contained 21 pints and a mutchkin of the water of [the river] Leith,” was for wheat, pease, beans, rye and white salt, commodities which had been sold by striken, or level measure. The second firlot, which contained 31 pints of water, was for oats, barley and malt, which had been sold by heaped measure. The pint mentioned is the Scottish Stirling jug.

The differences in the two firlots made all the related units differ as well, as shown in the following charts. Despite the law, many different firlots continued to exist.

firlot for wheat, pease, beans, rye, white salt

           

chalder

         

boll

16

       

firlot

4

64

 

   

peck

4

16

256

 

lippie or forpet

4

16

64

1,024

 

pint

1.3281

5/16

21¼

85

1360

cubic inches

103.404

137.333

549.333

2197.335

8789.34

140,629.44

liters

1.69

2.25

9.00

36.01

144.03

2304.50

firlot for oats, barley, and malt

           

chalder

         

boll

16

       

firlot

4

64

     

peck

4

16

256

lippie or forpet

4

16

64

1024

 

pint

1 15/16

31

124

1984

cubic inches

103.404

200.345

801.381

3,205.524

12,822.096

205,153.53

liters

1.69

3.28

13.13

52.53

210.12

3361.86

special act of 1621 James VI. parl. 23 cap. 17.

sources

1

De firlota

Item the mesoure of the furlote is this: it sal contene in breid, evin ourethort, xvj inche undir and abone within the birdis, and in depnes vj inche; the thicknes of bath the burdis sal contene ane inche and a halfe, the half furlote and the pek thare eftir folowande etc.

Item. The measure of the firlot is this: it shall contain in breadth, evenly across, 16 inches above and below within the boards, and 6 inches in depth. The thickness of both the boards shall amount to an inch and a half. The half firlot and the peck following after.

James I. 11 March ?1427/1426.
K. M. Brown et al, editors.
The Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707.
St. Andrews University, 2007- 2010. www.rps.ac.uk. Retrieved 29 May 2010.

The 1427 standard is thus cylindrical, rather than cone shaped, with an inside diameter of 16 inches and a depth of 6 inches, making its volume 1206.4 cubic inches.

Quhat the firlate sall contene

Item the firlat sall contene twa galonis and the gallon viij pyntis, and ilk pynt sall halde xlj uncis of watir, that is to say ij lib' and ix uncis. Swa the gallon sall hald xx lib' and aucht uncis wecht or watir. Sua the firlat sall contene xlj lib' wecht and the boll sall contene vj galonis. Foure firlatis sall content viijxxiiij lib' wecht of watir.

James I. 11 March ?1427/1426. [1427/3/7]
K. M. Brown et al, editors.
The Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707.
St. Andrews University, 2007- 2010. www.rps.ac.uk. Retrieved 29 May 2010.

2

The Fovndation of the drie Metts.

The Firlet of Linlithgow, which is the standerd for the whole countrie, for metting of Wheate, Rye, Beans, Pease, Meale, or white Salt, conteines 21 pintes and a Muchkin of the water of Leith : which Firlet is devided in 4 Peckes, with halfe peck, and fourth part of the Peck.

The Firlet (for metting of Beere, Malt, or Oates, which were called heaped cornes,) conteines 31 pintes of water.

4. Firlets makes the Bow.

16. Bowes is a Chalder.

18. Bowes and a halfe is compted for a last of Rye.

The halfe bowe mett of the water measure of Lieth conteines 9 peckes.

The English quarter of corne, conteines hard by 2. bowes of Scottish measure.

The Bow of wheate will weigh, 14 stone 3 pound.

The Firlet of drie Wheate, 3. stone 8 pound 12. vnces.

The peck will weigh, 14 pound 3 vnces.

The halfe peck, 7 pound 1 vnce and a halfe.

Alexander Huntar (1624), page 5.

examples

14th May, 1596

The counsale ordanis the thesaurer to get furth off Lynlythgw ane just forlett and ane pek, vpone the expensis of the burgh, with diligence.

31st January, 1596-7

The counsale hes ordanit Robert Alexschunder, Jhon Patersoun, Jhone Hendersoun, baxster, and William Gillespy, maltman, to mett the firlettis with the jug the morne efter prayaris, and to report the sufficiency of the mesour.

Extracts from fragmentary Council Records.
Charters and Other Documents relating to the Royal Burgh of Stirling. AD 1124-1705.
Glasgow: Printed for the Provost, Magistrates, and Council of the Burgh of Stirling, 1884.

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