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virgate

Latin, virgata.

The virgate was a unit in the assessment system in most of the
counties of Wessex and western Mercia, one quarter of a hide or 30 fiscal acres. J.H. Round long ago provided illustrations of the relationship of hides, virgates and acres, mainly from circuit 3 and especially from Cambridgeshire, where the Cambridge Inquisition provides totals for the hidage of each vill as well as each manor, giving greater confidence in the arithmetic involved.

Orwell provides a particularly clear example. The Cambridge Inquisition records that 'Orwell
answers for 4 hides', the details being:

Entry Hides Virgates Acres
11,5      0              1/4       0
13,8      1           1 1/3       0
14,41    0           3 1/4       5
17,6      0           1             0
21,6      0           1             0
22,10    0           1 1/3       0
26,34    0           3 1/3       0
31,5      0              1/3       0
Total    1         10 5/6       5

Exactly 4 hides if the equation 1 hide = 4 virgates = 120 acres holds true.

For more detail, see J.H. Round, Feudal England (1895).
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