In Newfoundland, at least as early as the 18ᵗʰ century – 20ᵗʰ century, a bundle of ten rolls of bark from birch, fir or spruce trees.¹ Ten “rinds” make a bundle about as heavy as a man can carry. Also spelled nitch.
In many other areas and in even earlier times the knitch was simply as large a burden (of objects like faggots, reeds, etc) as a man could carry, but had no specific numerical value. An exception was that in Northwest Devonshire a knitch was 6 sheaves of reeds. The sheaves were called wads.² In Scotland, a knitch was “a bundle of unbroken straw, 34 inches in girth.”³
1. G. M. Story, W. J. Kirwin and J. D. A. Widdowson, editors.
A Dictionary of Newfoundland English, 2nd ed.
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982, 1990.
Online at www.heritage.nf.ca/dictionary/index.php#2531. Retrieved 21 February 2007.
2. Joseph Wright.
English Dialect Dictionary.
London: Oxford University Press, 1898-1905.
3. James Britten.
Old Country and Farming Words.
English Dialect Society, number 30.
London: Trübner and Co., 1880.
Page 172. Britten's source was probably Morton's Cyclopedia of Agriculture (1863).
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Last revised: 22 February 2007.