A Tun Of Wine

Photo © Rick, 2 July 2006

A Tun Of Wine

On stave and hoop the long year through
We worked with will and pleasure,
And when the cask was firm and true,
We pressed the vineyard's treasure.


A large earthenware vessel with two handles below the lip. Wine was imported into England from Germany and Bordeaux in these large vessels prior to AD 250. Wooden casks may well have replaced the Amphorae after this time.

Taken from Old French, the large casks used for holding and shipping wine were called 'tuns'. The traditional French ton, the 'tonneau' was a shipment of about 200 gallons of wine. Tuns of various sizes were used throughout the Middle Ages, with the larger casks holding in excess of 200 gallons. After the conquest, large amounts of wine were imported into the country. When Gascony was brought under English rule by the marriage of Henry II to Eleanor of Aquitaine, a flourishing trade in wine followed. It is recorded that in the fourteenth century 20,000 tuns of wine per year were being imported into Bristol alone from Bordeaux and Bayonne. In 1423 Henry V decreed that wine should be measured in 'tuns' of less than 252 gallons.

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