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'In Great Britain, at least as early as the 18th century – 20th century, a unit of capacity for fresh herring before cleaning, since 1852 the quantity needed to fill 37½ imperial gallons (about 6.03 cubic feet, or 170.5 liters). From the Gaelic crann, a measure for herring. Sometimes spelled crane. Under the Herring Industry Board's rules, and Weights and Measures Regulations, any herring not sold by the cran must be sold by weight. A cran typically contains about 1200 fish, but can vary from 700 to 2500.1

The cran originated in Scotland as a heaped measure. A standard but bottomless 30-gallon herring barrel was filled to overflowing with fish, and then the barrel was lifted off. Because the fish were heaped, the resulting pile contained more than 30 gallons of herring – observers estimated around 34 wine gallons2 (others say 35 to 36). In 1908 the cran was made a legal measure in England and Wales,4, having previously been legal only in Scotland.

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