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The auncel (Norman: auncelle or aunsell’, lit. "little balance") was a balance scale formerly used in England. It consisted of a rod with the fulcrum near one end and a weight that could be moved along the graduated longer arm; the item to be weighed was hung from the end of the shorter arm of the rod. This design made it easier for merchants to falsify the weight than when scales with arms of equal length were used, as a result of which it was banned[1] by Edward III in 1350.[2]

In some British dialects, it is used for the informal weighing of meat by hand instead of by scales.[3]


  1. ^ James Davis. Medieval Market Morality: Life, Law and Ethics in the English Marketplace, 1200–1500. Cambridge University Press. 2011. p.195.
  2. ^ 25 Edward III st. 5 c. 9 (1350).
  3. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Auncel" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 921.