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Medieval Sourcebook:
Roger of Wendover:
National Regulations of Weights & Measures, 1187-1228

In the same year [1187], on the day of St. Edmund the king and martyr, King Richard, at the instance of Hubert archbishop of Canterbury and justiciary of England, made a decree at Westminster, that, throughout England all measures of corn and pulse, both in cities and other places, should be of the same size, and especially the measure of ale, wine, and the weights of merchants. It was also decreed that woolen cloths in all parts of the kingdom should be two ells wide, within the borders, and should be as good in the middle as they were at the sides. It was, moreover, decreed that no trader should hang up before his shop red or black cloths, or anything else by which the sight of purchasers should be deceived in choosing a good cloth. A decree was also passed that no dye, except black, should be anywhere made use of in the kingdom, except in the capital cities or the boroughs; and if any one should be convicted of transgressing any of these laws, that his body should be imprisoned, and his goods confiscated to the revenue.

King Henry [III] kept Christmas with all due solemnity at York [1228] and immediately afterwards set out by the direct road for London. In this journey he found a deficiency in the measures of corn, wine, and beer, of which he broke some and burnt others, and substituting larger ones, he ordered the bread to be made of heavier weight, and that those who broke this law should be heavily fined.


From: Roger of Wendover's Flowers of History, trans. by J. A. Giles, (London: H. G. Bohn, 1849), Vol. II, pp. 169, 497, reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 103-104.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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© Paul Halsall, September 1998