As the astute reader of this website’s blog knows, I am invested in discovering (and publishing) the history of the Yard of Ale Glass. I make Yardies on a daily basis, and as such am contributing to the living history of the Yard Glass. (I think that’s pretty cool!) But the question often nags – when and where was the first Yard of Ale Glass made? And by whom? Considering this sends me on a quest to dig through the annals of history (aka Google searching) to find and expose these hidden truths.
One such question I posed to the machine was: What is the first known instance of a Yard of Ale in any text? I can’t promise this is the actual first, but it is the first I was able to find. The first known text mentioning a yard of ale is from 1695, in The Life and Death of Jack Wilton: A Comedy by Thomas d’Urfey. In the play, a character is described as “drinking a yard of ale”.
What is the earliest mention of a Yard of Ale? The earliest mention of a Yard of Ale can be found in a 16th-century English poem written by Thomas Nashe. The poem, entitled “The Choise of Valentines,” describes a character drinking a “Yerde of Ale.” And wow, what a poem it is! Scandalous at the time, filled with references you would not want to publish on a family blog such as this one. And in the 16th century no less! I’ll leave you to read the text of that one.
Now, there is a definite caveat to this post – specifically, the “Yard of Ale” may not have been referring to a glass, but a measurement. For example, a yard of ale might have meant simply 3 beers, or a specific amount not based on glassware. I will explore that in a future post, but for now, I hope you enjoyed this edition of Yard Glass history.
Follow this link to Purchase a Yard of Ale Glass. Cheers!