Pre-decimal terms of measurement: chains, perches and Victorian leg measurements

A national housebuilder is purchasing a development site in North Yorkshire. The land is unregistered and the root of title document is a 1928 conveyance that describes the land as being ‘several closes of land containing nine acres, two roods and 12 perches or thereabouts’.

Fortunately the conveyance contains an adequate plan, but the description did get our team talking about some of the weird and wonderful terms of measurement our predecessors used in the pre-decimal age:

Chain: 22 yards (20.12m), the name comes from a 17th-century system of land measurement whereby a chain used by Edmund Gunter for measuring distances proved so popular that ‘Gunter’s Chain’ became the accepted standard length for surveying. A chain remains familiar today as the length of a cricket pitch from one wicket to the other…

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