In Wales, ? – 19th century, originally a unit of capacity. Also spelled hobbit, hobbett, hobaid. Apparently in at least some areas the unit for grain was spelled hobbet and for lime hobed.
In South Wales it was used for lime, and divided into 4 pedwran each of 5 or 6 quarts, = 1 peccaid (22 to 26.4 liters). The hobbet of grain, in contrast, = ½ peccaid.¹
In Anglesey and Caernarfonshire, for lime 1 hobed = 2 storeds = 4 bushels, about 141 liters. For wheat, about 78.5 kilograms.¹
In Denbigh, Flint and Merionethshire, 2½ Winchester bushels. “In the Vale of Clwyde and part of Flintshire, 21 hobeds are sold for a score.”¹
In Montgomeryshire, from 2½ to 2¾ bushels.¹
Like many capacity units used for crops, the hobbet became a unit of mass when weighing became easier. For wheat, 168 pounds (4 pecks each weighing 42 pounds). For old potatoes, 200 pounds; for new potatoes, 210 pounds.
Britten² says it was 2½ imperial bushels, and gives the following mass equivalents:
When all but the statute measures were outlawed, the hobbet was saved by its redefinition as a unit of mass. When a buyer tried to break a contract on the grounds that it specified hobbets of wheat, the court held the prohibition on use of old measures “applies only to sale by measure of capacity and not to sale by weight estimated in pounds. & therefore it does not extend to sale by any local term designating a given number of pounds weight. As to sale of wheat by Welsh hobbett, it appearing by evidence that this designated 168 lbs. weight, & that a sale by hobbett entitled a purchaser to so many pounds of wheat.”³
1. Second Report… (1820), page 19.
2. James Britten.
Old Country and Farming Words.
English Dialect Society, number 30.
London: Trübner and Co., 1880.
3. Hughes v. Humphries (1854) in
The English and Empire Digest.
London: Butterworth and Co., 1929.
Volume 44, page 132.
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Last revised: 16 August 2005.