Hogshead, butts and Queen Anne…

No, not a pop at the Royals of the 1600-1700s, but a very important time in the standardisation of liquid volumes.

Historically the wine gallon was used to determine all sorts of big volumes.  But the precise volume of the wine gallon wasn’t defined until 1707 when the Queen Anne Wine Gallon was introduced.  This became the standard volume measurement for wine (along with oil and honey).  The volume was officially 231 cubic inches or 3.785 litres.

In the Science Museum in London, you can see the heavy bronze measuring jug with the crown over ‘A.R’ (Anne Regina) and the words ‘Wine Gallon 1707’ embossed in it.  When measured, the volume of this jug was actually 230.824 cubic inches (not the 231 which was previously stated).

Here are some other units of measurements based around the Queen Anne Gallon:

TUN – 252 gallons

PIPE BUTT – 1/2 Tun

PUNCHEON, tertion – 1/3 Tun

HOGSHEAD – 1/4 Tun

TIERCE – 1/6 Tun

BARREL – 1/8 Tun

RUNDLET – 1/14 Tun


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