Guernsey bushel

Compare other bushels.


On the island of Guernsey, a unit of dry capacity for wheat, about 1632 cubic inches (26.744 liters). Unlike the English bushel, this bushel was not subdivided into pecks, gallons, quarts, etc, but into cabotels, denerels and quints. link to a chart showing relationships between units of dry capacity for wheat on Guernsey.

Berry states it contains “six gallons, Winchester measure, or 1632 cubic inches; consequently four bushels of wheat, of the Island measure, are exactly equal to three Winchester bushels.” Elsewhere he states the wheat bushel contains 54 [Guernsey] pints.

Unfortunately, Berry's figures are suspect. In the first place, they are internally inconsistent. Berry says the Guernsey gallon contains 252 cubic inches with 8 pints to the gallon, making the Guernsey pint 31.5 cubic inches. In that case a bushel of 54 pints would be 1701 cubic inches, not 1632. Secondly, a Winchester gallon was 272.5 cubic inches, so 6 gallons would be 1635 cubic inches, not 1632. The Winchester bushel, however, was 2150.42 cubic inches after 1698, so three would be 6451.26 cubic inches, and dividing that figure by 4 makes the Guernsey bushel 1612.8 cubic inches.


Berry also describes (page 120) a smaller wheat bushel, divided in the same fashion as the greater measure, but exactly 5/6th its value.  link to a chart showing relationships between units of dry capacity for wheat on Guernsey. If we take the larger at 1632 cubic inches, the smaller measure would be 1360 cubic inches (22.286 liters).   It may be significant, given that Guernsey's standard of weight came from Rouen, the medieval capital of Normandy, that the ancient boisseau of Rouen had a capacity of 22.75 liters.


A different legal bushel was used for barley, pease, oats, salt, lime and coal, according to Berry, with a capacity of 2120.5 cubic inches.  Berry also states this bushel equals 67 Guernsey pints, but using the pint value calculated above gives a capacity of 2110.5 cubic inches. Unlike the wheat bushel, this bushel was stricken for all goods except coal. Berry says that it contained "nearly the same quantity" as the heaped wheat bushel.

Berry states this bushel was 2 16/124 Guernsey pints smaller than the Winchester bushel. Since the difference is 29.92 cubic inches, the Guernsey pint is only 14 cubic inches! Alternatively, if we take a value of 31.5 cubic inches for the Guernsey pint, this bushel is 2083.4 cubic inches.

William Berry.
The History of the Island of Guernsey, part of the ancient Duchy of Normandy, from the remotest period of antiquity to the year 1814,...
London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1815.

Page 119.

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