serplaith [Scots]

In Scotland, 16ᵗʰ century, a unit of mass for wool = 80 stanes, each stane of 16 Scottish troy pounds, or 1280 such pounds. It apparently was only used in making arrangements between ship captains and merchants for shipping wool to Scandinavian and Baltic ports. A Scottish stane was about 7.9 kilograms, making the serpaith about 632 kilograms, or 1393 pounds avoirdupois. This is the Scottish version of the sarpler.



SERPLATH Jam I. p. 2 c. 38. Jam. 2. p. 14. c. 68. Conteinis fourescore stanes. For the Lordes of Councel, in Anno, 1527, decerned four serplaithes of packed wooll, to conteine sexteene scors stanes of wooll. be the traffique of merchandes now used. The merchandes usis to pay frauchte for their gudes to Flanders, be the Sek: to France, Spayne and England, be the Tonne: And to Danskjne and the Easter Seas, be the serplath.

As I understande, ane serplaith of gudes is onelie counted betuixt merchand and skippers, for suring of gudes to the Easter Seas, and frathine hame to this realme. Swa that for everie Serplaith of gudes sured, or promised to be sured Eastward; the skipper is oblished to suir hame to this realme, twa lasts of gudes: And this Serplaith of gudes is of nagreater quantitie, nor the sek of gudes to Flanders.

Sir John Skene.
De verborum significatione.
Edinburgh, printed by David Lindsay, 1681.
The first edition was printed in Edinburgh in 1597.


This in Scotland is called Serplathe, and containeth fourescore stone, for the Lords in counsell in anno 1527 decreed foure serpliathes of packed woll to containe 16 score stone of woll.

John Cowell.
The Interpreter: or Books Containing the Signification of Words.
Cambridge, 1607.


The Sirplithe of goodes, which is the common fraughting of Marchandice bewixt this Countrey, and the Easterne Countreyes, is esteemed, to wey 80 stone weight, or 1280 pund weight.

Huntar, 1624.


Serplath; in the old Scottish [illegible] of weights and measures, contained fourscore stones, a term chiefly used in the accounts of merchants and shipmasters (skippers). A “sek” (sack) of wool contained 24 stones, and by the daily calculation of merchants, 40 stones Troy, although this was not invariable. Each stone Troy contained 16 pounds Troy, and each pound 16 ounces. Each “tunne” contained 6 cwt. Troy, and each cwt. fivescore pounds, or 6¼ stones Troy. “A last of gudes sured hame” (imported), commonly contained 12 barrels, or half a serplath.

William Bell.
A Dictionary and Digest of the Law of Scotland
Revised and corrected by George Ross.
Edinburgh: Bell and Bradfute, 1861.
Page 750.

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