Peasant ploughing
Source: Wikimedia Commons

An oxgang is an old measurement of land area, one eighth of a ploughland, which was the area that could be ploughed by a team of eight ox in one year. Also known by its latinised name of bovata, an oxgang was the amount of land held by a man who could contribute one ox to the cooperative venture.[1] In that respect it differed from the earlier Anglo-Saxon unit of measurement known as the hide, which was the amount of land sufficient to support one free peasant – a ceorl, sometimes rendered as churl – and his family.[2]

The area of an oxgang, although it may have varied across the country, is generally considered to have been about 15 acres (6 ha).[3]

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Bibliography


Stenton, F. M. (1971). Anglo-Saxon England. Oxford University Press.
Zupko, R. E. (1985). A Dictionary of Weights and Measures for the British Isles: The Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century. American Philosophical Society.