A measure of dry capacity in the English-speaking world. The earliest documentary evidence of the bushel is from the 1300's. The word comes from an Old French word which is the ancestor of the modern French boisseau. Presumably the bushel was introduced to England through the Norman Conquest.
The following entries treat various bushels:
Bushel, sb. [in] Warwickshire and the neighboring counties; i. e. two strikes, or two bushels, [of] Winchester measure.
A Collection of English Words Not Generally used, with their Significations and Original, in two Alphabetical Catalogues, the one Of such as are proper to tbe Northern, the other to the Southern Counties…. 2nd edition.
London: Printed for Christopher Wilkinson, 1691.
from the edition edited by W. W. Skeat for the English Dialect Society.
London: Trubner, 1873-1874.
BUSHEL; in some places is taken for two Strikes, or two Bushels, and sometimes for more; but properly in dry English measure, four Pecks makes a Bushel, as eight Bushels makes a Quarter.
Great diversity of weights and measures prevails in Westmoreland, as is the case in almost every county in Great Britain. … There is a Winchester bushel, a customary bushel equal to three of these, a bushel of two bushels for the sale of potatoes near Appleby, and one of two and a half for that of barley. Rye is sold by the boll of two bushels, and potatoes by the load of four bushels and a half heaped, or more generally a bag which holds seven and one half bushels is filled and sold for a load of potatoes.
General View of the Agriculture of Westmoreland…
J. Bailey and G. Culley
A General View of the Agriculture of Northumberland, with Observations on the Means of its Improvement…
Newcastle: printed by Sol, Hodgson, and sold in London by Robinson and Nichol, 1797.
At Abington and Andover, a bushel contains nine gallons; at Appleby and Penrith, a bushel of pease, rye, aod wheat, contains 16 gallons; of barley, big, malt, mixt malt, and oats, 2.0 gallons. A bushel contains, at Carlisle, 24 gallons ; at Chester a bushel of wheat, rye, etc. contains 32 gallons, and of oats 40½; at Dorchester, a bushel of malt and oats contains 10 gallons; at Falmouth, the bushel of stricken coals is 16 gallons, of other things 20, and usually 21 gallons; at Kingston upon Thames, the bushel contains 8½, at Newbury, 9; at Wycomb and Reading, 8¼, at Stamford, 15 gallons.
The passage comes from the “bushel” entry of the Encyclopedia Britannica, 4th 1810 (and 6th, 1832) editions. But the data comes from a series of popular weekly folios, sort of a
17ᵗʰ century blog or financial newsletter:
Friday, June 23, 1693. Num. XLVI.
Variety of weights and measures in several parts of England. Something of Camden's Britania.
The folios were later published in collections. This one appeared on page 132 of
Husbandry and trade improv'd: being a collection of many valuable…
London: Prin[t]ed for Woo[d]man and Lyon, 1727.
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Last revised: 9 May 2020.