In 864, Charles the Bald issued what is today known as the Edict of Pistres.

One of his demands was that copies of the standards of measurements (e.g. versions of a foot) were to be displayed on the outside of churches and monasteries. This was the completion of a movement that Charlemagne started 6 decades earlier.

Often these copies were made in stone, directly as part of the buildings. My question is if there are any of these remaining somewhere in France or Germany?

  • 1
    The German Wikipedia page on the ell (unit) links to various pictures and some articles of such reference measurements, but they are usually displayed at the town hall, not a monastery. (Brunswick ell, Homberg ell etc.) -- It is not clear if that would satisfy you as an answer, as they are a) not part of a church / monastery, and b) not necessarily a direct consequence of the Edict of Pistres...?!?
    – DevSolar
    Apr 24, 2017 at 15:55
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    I just read the Edict (in Brian Hill's MA thesis) but didn't see any mention of the standards of measurement. Can you please provide a citation for that part of the question? Oct 13, 2017 at 4:49
  • One place to look might be the Basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains in Metz: Charles the Bald was crowned King of Lotharingia there in 869. Nov 30, 2017 at 5:50
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    I am voting to close this question because the Edict of Pîtres appears to say no such thing. Feb 25, 2018 at 6:45
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    It doesn't talk about length standards, but weight.
    – CGCampbell
    May 18, 2018 at 15:20

1 Answer 1


Yes. These ell standards on churches were installed to prevent trade disputes, especially with tailors. The churches whose ells are pictured here are the St. Walpurgis-Kirche in Apfelstädt and Domkirche St. Stephan zu Wien. It is not clear to me if they had anything at all to do with the Edict of Pîtres, but here are the ells.

Ell 1 Ell 2


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