Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 5.djvu/38

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NOTES AND QUERIES. [9* s. v. JAN. 13, 1900.


little room for doubt that hid springs from a root that is common to it and them and has the same primary meaning."* Again, relying on Mr. Stevenson, he says, " The little evidence that we have seems to point to the greater antiquity in England of a reckoning which takes the * house land ' rather than the 'plough land' as its unit."t The hide is sometimes described as " terra uriius casati," a casatus being a person to whom a casa, or house of some kind, has been allotted.

Let me now refer to evidence which helps to fix the normal size of the bay.

The size of the Roman bay is given by Palladius, whose work on husbandry is ascribed to about A.D. 210. This author, in giving directions about the building of ox- houses, says :

"Octo pecles ad spatium stand! singulis bourn paribus abundant, et in porrectione xv."J

Each pair of oxen should have a length of 8 ft. for standing room ; that is, the bay should be 16 ft. long, and the breadth should be 15 ft. Here, therefore, we have a bay with a superficies of 240 (Roman) ft.

The English bay may now be compared to the Roman.

The size of the English bay in the twelfth century is given in 'Boldon Buke' (Surtees Soc.), p. 33 :

"In Quykham sunt xxxv. villani, quorum unusquisque tenet j bovatam de xv. acris, et

solebant in operatione sua facere unam domum

longitudinis xl. pedura et latitudinis xv. pedum."

As English bays were 16 ft. long, this house contained 2^ bays, and accordingly each complete bay was 16 ft. long and 15 ft. broad. Each bay, therefore, contained 240 square ft.

In France, as in England, buildings were estimated by the bay. Thus in a document of the year 1548 we have " une grange con- tenant trois Espasses." The usual French word was travee, which Cotgrave defines as <k A Bay of building the space, and length, betweene two beames, or the two walls thereof ; in breadth about twelue foot, in length betweene nineteene and twentie.|| A bay 20ft. long by 12 broad would contain


  • Op. cit., p. 359.

f Ibid., p. 398.

' De Re Rustica,' i. 21. Other measurements and further details are given in my ' Evolution of the English House.'

Du Cange, s.v. 'Spatium.'

II * A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues,' 1632. I think I have read somewhere that French churches are longer in proportion to their breadth than English.


240 square ft., like the Roman and English bay.

It will have been noticed that the building described by Saxo Grammaticus is 240 ft. ong, and also that it is divided into 12 bays, each of which is 20 ft. square.* Each of these bays may accordingly be divided into 20 rectangular divisions, each Treasuring 4 ft. by 5 ft., and corresponding to the 20 pennyweights which make the ounce, and the whole building may be divided into 240 such divisions. It is obvious, then, that the whole building corresponds to a pound, and that the 12 bays represent the 12 ounces into which the pound was divided.

The Frisians had a land measure, or measure of surface, which they called vundemetaj literally a pound measure. They had also a measure of land called enze, an ounce, which was the twelfth part of the pundemeta, and they spoke of so many ' ounces of land." In Friesland therefore, as in England, the monetary system flowed from the measures or values of houses and land.

The Gallic and the Welsh pound of silver, as well as the Frisian pound of silver, was divided into 12 ounces each of a score pence, and there were 12 pence in the shilling. An ancient writer has the following defini- tion :

" Juxta Gallos vigesima pars uncise denarius est

et duodecim denarii solidum reddurit Duodecim

uncise libram xx. solidos continentem efficient. !Sed veteres solidum qui nunc aureus dicitur nuncupabant."!

We may infer that the bay had a fixed or definite area from the fact that hay and corn were estimated by the bay. In Derbyshire hay has been commonly sold by the bay in the present century, and may yet continue to be sold in that way. Palsgrave, in his 'English-French Dictionary,' 1530, mentions a "goulfe of corne, so moche as may lye bytwene two postes, other wyse a bay," but gives no French equivalent. The " two postes " are the pillars or " forks " which separate one bay from another. In Norfolk, according to Forby, every division of a barn is called a " goaf e-

  • Du Cange renders the mediaeval dispendinm by

detour, and it seems impossible to interpret JSaxo's words in any other way.

f Richthofen. ' Altfriesiscb.es Worterbuch,' s.r.

In ' Pauca de Mensuris' (Lachmann and Rudorf, ' Gromatici Veteres,' p. 373), quoted by Mr. Seebohm in the 'English Village Community,' p. 21)2. Mr. Seebohm, on the same page, says, " The division of the pound into '240 pence was very con- veniently arranged for the division of a tax imposed upon holdings of 240 acres, or 120 acres, or 60 acres, or the 10 acres in each field."