Weights and measures

Pages 562-564

Analytical Index to the Series of Records Known as the Remembrancia 1579-1664. Originally published by EJ Francis, London, 1878.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


Weights And Measures.

I. 563. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lord Treasurer, informing him of the great inconvenience arising to the City and the Commonwealth, from the want of a proper assize of Troy (fn. 1) and Avoirdupois weights. Such as used weights for gold and silver merchandize and victuals, used such as they pleased, to the great deceit of the people. This custom had been presented by the Wardmotes as a matter most hurtful. He therefore requested that some speedy order might be given for the redress of the same.
30th January, 1583.

I. 607. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen to the Lord Treasurer. At his request they had considered the complaint made by the Founders' Company, touching the wrong done to them (as they pretended) and to other Her Majesty's subjects, by the use of leaden weights, they desiring that all small weights of lead under two pounds might be turned into brass. Having considered their request and the reasons alleged, they were of opinion that it would be very inconvenient to the sellers of small wares to be compelled to change their weights, they being poor men. As to the facility offered to the evil-disposed to tamper with the weights, it would also apply to those made of brass; besides which the officers appointed to search for defective weights would discover any deficiencies, if they existed. Moreover the Plumbers' Company would have a just cause of complaint, that their living was taken from them.
26th April, 1592.

III. 24. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor. The King was informed that great and general abuse was committed in the City by the using of unlawful and unsized as well as false and defective weights contrary to the Statutes and Ordinances of the Realm. They required him to take steps to search and seize all such weights, and cause them to be kept until further order; for which purpose, having had experience, in the late Queen's time, of the care and diligence of Robert Thompson and James Harrison, then employed for the search and seizure of false weights, they requested his lordship to employ them again.
20th September, 1611.

IV. 102. Letter from Sir Francis Bacon, Lord Chancellor, to the Lord Mayor on behalf of Robert Thompson, who had been deputed within the City to find out false and unsized beams, weights, and measures, wherein he had done good service at great pains and charges to himself, but for which he had received so small a recompense that he was discouraged to proceed further, and requesting that the benefit of a present freedom might be granted to him for his encouragement.
York House, 13th March, 1617.


  • 1. Troy weight. The term is supposed to have been originated from the weights used at the fair of Troyes. The earliest regulations on the subject leave no room to doubt that it was originally the pound of silver—the pound sterling. It is mentioned as a known weight in the Act 2 Henry V. cap. 4, 1414, and in 2 Henry VI. cap. 13, 1423, but it was not made a legal standard till 12 Henry VII. 1495. In 1599, the Court of Aldermen determined to appoint a committee to consider as to the reformation of the abuses in weights and measures. They made their report March 6th, 1599, when the Court ordered that only "Troy Waights or Havier depoix waight be used." They were to be made either of iron, lead, or brass, according to the standards kept at Guildhall. Repertory 25, fol. 55.