carage

In England, 16 – 17th centuries, a quantity of 64 bushels of lime.¹ From the slim evidence we have of the word's existence, it is not possible to know if striken or heaped measure was used. In some cases, “bushel” meant 2 stricken bushels. In the 16 and 17th centuries a bushel was around 2148 cubic inches.

David Dowd reports the unit was used for building materials other than lime, and recalls “carages of stone and brick” in Finche's History of Croydon. We have located “carriages of stone and bricke” in a letter² by Finche, dated 1597, but the context is insufficient to show whether the term is a unit or simply a means of transport.

1. John Worlidge, 1704.

2. G[eorge] Steinman Steinman.
A History of Croydon.
London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green & Longman, 1831.
Page 348. From Appendix 14, Eight letters from the Rev. Samuel Finch, Vicar of Croydon, describing the building of Whitgift's Hospital.

Was “carage” a unit in the sixteenth century?

We have been searching for records that might answer this question.

In the 1540's, Henry VIII tasked the Duke of Suffolk with preparing an invasion of Scotland. “Carage” occurs in many of Suffolk's letters to the Privy Council¹ concerning plans for the invasion. A few examples:

I shulde sende to Syr Thomas Warton to make provisione of victualles and carage for xijml men to passe into Scotlande.

11 September 1543, page 30.

The meaning above is identical with one of the current meanings of “carriage”, that is, transport.

And where your lordships dothe thinke that the carages of victualls yn cartes is more mete then yn costrells on horsbacke, whiche opynyon cannot be avoyded, yf their warr good and sufficyent carages to be hade in this countrey, as I thought culd not be hadde, as I have certifiede unto your lordships afore this, the experyence whereof was tryed the last yere, wherefore I thought to suplye the same for carage of vitailes in costrells on horsback.

whiche was cheiflye for costrells that I wrote for to cary vitayles on horsebacke, and also I thought it shuld have ben lesse charge to the Kinges majestie and more fewer carages, then yn ylle carages at this tyme of the yere. Yette there shuld have ben no lacke of carages to close the campe withall, seing that every nobyll man and capitayne wold have brought goode and stronge sufficient carages for their tentes and pavilions and bagages, whiche wold have byn no smale nombre; and also theye shuld have byne more abill to have passide, then the weke carages of this countrey, whiche I dout not but your lordships can consider.

21 September 1543, pages 63-64.

“Carages of victualls” is another case where carage = transport. Yet the “good and sufficyent carages”, “goode and stronge sufficient carages” and the Scottish “weke carages” of the final sentence must refer to individual vehicles.

Edenborough with the Kinges navye, and thoder iijc to be sent to Barwik. The cause why that I thinke thes wynes shuld be purveide, ys, that I thinke yt the best for to make drinke for the said armye with water, for as for brewhouses wille not serve in Scotlande, for as I understand there ys no fewell [fuel] that can be found that tyme of the yere there. Therfore thinkinge that there shalbe skant [fuel] sufficient for bakinge and dressinge of meate, and to carye yt in bere for xxj daes will stande in ml carages, where thoder one c [one hundred] carage will serve. And for brede for xxj daes, there muste be in meall ml quarters which wilbe caryed in c [one hundred] cartes. So that the carages for drinke and brede shall take cc [two hundred] cartes.

And also for the makinge of the carages in lesse nombre, it wer not amysse that everye x capytayns were poyntede to have but ij or iij carages, which shuld be sufficient; and yf everye x capitains shuld have iij, it wolde drawe to lx cartes, which ys thought sufficient. And for the lordes and thedcapytayns to have as little carage as may be, which I thinke wilbe amongest them xxx cartes. And for the carage of the munycyon and powder, and suche thinges as to thordynaunce and artillerye belongethe, xxx cartes. So the nombre of cartes for bagages and artillerye wilbe cxx cartes. Tholle nombre of all the carages, by estymacion, ys iijcxx cartes, wherof muste be purveide by the Kinges majestie, ccxxx cartes, which muste be purveide in Yorkshire, or where the best waynes [wain, a 2-wheeled cart] be, and everye wayne to have xij oxen.

25 January 1584, page 258.

Here perhaps are suggestions that the carage had some sort of well-defined capacity. If every 10 captains each having 3 carages would amount to 60 carts, (?) then 1 carage = 2 carts.

To clarify this question, we need an invoice or bill of materials from something like a building project.

1. Joseph Bain, editor.
Letters and Papers Illustrating the Political Relations of England and Scotland in the XVIth Century.
Vol. II. 1543-1590.
The Hamilton Papers.
Edinburgh: H. M. General Register House, 1892.

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