# English ale gallon

In England and later Great Britain, at least as early as 15ᵗʰ century – 1824, a unit of liquid capacity used for ale, = 282 cubic inches. In 1688, the Commissioners of Excise and Hearth Money sent a memorial to the Commissioners of the Treasury stating that the ale gallon was 282 cubic inches.

In 1824, the ale gallon was abolished by the act that created imperial measure.

## resources

Maurice Stevenson.
The size of liquid measures in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Libra, vol. 2, (1964).

## sources

1

But first, you must know the true content of the Ale-gallon, concerning which there are divers reports and accounts. Some ancient Artists, viz. Mr. Goodwyn, and Mr. Reynolds affirme, that the proportion between the Ale-gallon and the Wine-gallon is as 4 to 5; the Wine-gallon being 231 inches and the Ale-gallon 283¾. This, by Mr. Oughtred is much lessened, being supposed by him to be but 272 inches, and ¼, and Mr. Wybard lessens it somewhat more, making it at the most but 270 inches. But so far as I can learn, there are three sorts of measures in use. The measure for Wine being 231 inches; the measure for dry things, as Corn, &c. being about 272; and the measure for beer and ale being 288 inches and ¾. The proportion between these three gallons is 28, 33, 35; but having little to do with the middle gallon, I shall take the Ale-gallon to be 288 inches and ¾, and conclude the proportion between the Wine and Ale-gallon to be exactly 4 to 5.

Henry Phillippes.
The Purchasers Pattern. 2nd ed., corrected and enlarged.
London: Printed for R. & W. Leybourn, for T. Pierrepont..., 1654.
Pages 232-233.

2

The Beer or Ale Gallon (which are both one) is much larger than the Wine Gallon, it being (as I presume) made at first to correspond with Averdupois Weight, as the Wine Gallon did with Troy Weight: For (as I said before Page 33) one Pound Averdupois is Equal to 14 Ounces 12 Penny Weight Troy, very near.

And, as one Pound Troy is in proportion to the Cubick Inches in a Wine Gallon, so is one Pound Averdupois to the Cubick Inches in an Ale Gallon. That is, 12:231 :: 14 12/20 :281½, very near the Cubick Inches contained in an Ale-Gallon, as appears from an Experiment made by one Nicholas Gunton, General Gauger in the Excise, about 41 Years ago, who by such a Vessel mentioned before in the last Page, did find the Standard Ale-Quart (kept in the Exchequer, Vid. 12 Car. 2.) to contain just 70½ Cubick Inches, consequently the Ale-Gallon must contain 282 Cubick Inches, and from thence the following Tables are computed.

 Cubick Inches 282 = 1 Gallon 2256 = 8 = 1 Ferkin 4512 = 16 = 2 = 1 Kilderkin 9024 = 32 = 4 = 2 = 1 Barrel 13526 = 48 = 6 = 3 = 1½ = 1 Hogshead

Note, A Ferkin of Soap and of Herrings are the same with that of Ale.

 Cubick Inches 282 = 1 Gallon 2538 = 9 = 1 Ferkin 5076 = 18 = 2 = 1 Kilderkin 10152 = 36 = 4 = 2 = 1 Barrel 15228 = 54 = 6 = 3 = 1½ = 1 Hogshead

N.B. This Distinction or Difference betwixt Ale and Beer-Measure is now only used in London. But in all other places of England the following Table of Beer or Ale, whether it be strong or small, is to be observed, according to a Statute of Excise made in the Year 1689.

 Cubick Inches 282 = 1 Gallon 2397 = 8½ = 1 Ferkin 4794 = 17 = 2 = 1 Kild. 9588 = 34 = 4 = 2 = 1 Barrel 14382 = 51 = 6 = 3 = 1½ = 1 Hogshead

John Ward.
The Young Mathematician's Guide… Fourth Edition.
London: Printed for A. Betterworth … and F. Fayrham, 1724.
Pages 35 and 36.

3

The Standard Ale-Quart now kept in the Exchequer, (made in Pursuance of the 12ᵗʰ of Henry the 7ᵗʰ, cap. 5. to contain two Pounds of Wheat Troy Weight) having by Experiment been found to contain 70½ Cubical Inches ; therefore the Ale and Beer Gallon, which by the 12 Car. 2d cap. 23 sec. 8. is declared to contain four of those Standard Quarts, must contain 282 Cubical Inches.

Henry Crouch.
A Complete View of the British Customs. Part the Second.
London: Printed for John Osborn and Thomas Longman at the Ship in Pater-noster-Row, 1728.
Appendix, page 36.

home | units index | search | |  |