Appearances of the Yard of Ale Glass in Historical Literature

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!

The History of the Yard of Ale, Part 1

As someone who makes Yards of Ale Glasses, I feel it is important to know the history of this unique and formidable piece of drinkware.

I will start this journey using the most immediate resource available to me; the internet, or specifically, Wikipedia.

According to the oracle:

“The glass most likely originated in 17th-century England, where the glass was known also as a “long glass”, a “Cambridge yard (glass)” and an “ell glass”.[5] Such a glass was a testament to the glassblower‘s skill as much as the drinker’s. John Evelyn records in his Diary the formal yet festive drinking of a yard of ale toast to James II at Bromley in Kent (now southeast London), 1685. “

Ok, so we have our first mention of the Yard of Ale glass in 1685 in Kent, to toast King James II. This shall be the first entry in our living history of the Yard of Ale. I am wagering on my internet sleuthing ability to find an earlier date or signpost, or at least something interesting to add to the conversation. If not, I will skull a Yard of Ale.