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Calendars

The following is a brief discourse on calendars and genealogical dating.
For an in-depth discussion on calendars visit : http://www.hermetic.ch/cal_stud/cal_art.htm


Regnal dating | Quarter days | Julian Calendar | Gregorian Calendar

Regnal Years. While the Christian year provided the chronological framework, an older method of dating based on the years of rulers, continued to be popular particularly in law. In 537, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian began the practice of dating the years of his reign. This was adopted by the popes, who used their pontifical years to date papal briefs..
In England, regnal years were introduced by Henry II in 1189. It became the approved method of dating official documents. Apart from the Commonwealth period, between 1649 and 1660, many legal documents were dated by regnal year until the late 18th century. Indeed, acts of parliament continued to be referred to in this way until 1961. This table may be useful to assist in dating old documents such as mortgage, deed of sale or transfer of property. It contains the first and last regnal years of English monarchs since Henry II. From Henry II to Henry III, the reign was deemed to begin from the date of coronation. Afterwards the date of accession marked the start of the regnal year, with the exception of King John who was crowned an Ascension Day 1199. His regnal years are dated from this movable feast.

 

   
Henry II
1 19th December 1154 - 18th December 1155
35 19th December 1188 - 6th July 1189
Richard I
1 3rd September 1189 - 2nd September 1190
10 3rd September 1189 - 6th April 1199
John
1 27th May 1199 - 17th May 1200
18 19th May 1206 - 19th Oct 1209
Henry III
1 28th October 1206 - 27th October 1207
57 28th October 1272 - 16th November 1272
Edward I
1 28th November 1272 - 19th November 1273
35 20th November 1306 - 7th July 1327
Edward II
1 8th July 1307 - 7th July 1308
20 8th July 1326 - 20th January 1327
Edward III
1 25th January 1327 - 24th January 1328
51 25th January 1377 - 20th June 1377
Richard II
1 22nd June 1377 - 20th June 1378
23 22nd June 1399 - 28th September 1399
Henry IV
1 30th September 1399 - 28th September 1400
14 30th September 1412 - 20th March 1413
Henry V
1 20th March 1413 - 20th March 1414
10 20th March 1422 - 31st August 1422
Henry VI
1 1st September 1422 - 31st August 1423
39 1st September 1460 - 4th March 1461
49 September/October 1470 - 11th April 1471
Henry VI was restored to the throne in this period, and calculated his regnal years as if he had not been deposed in 1461.
Edward IV
1 4th March 1461 - 3rd March 1462
23 4th March 1483 - 9th April 1483
Edward V
1 9th April 1483 -25th June 1483
Richard III
1 26th June 1482 - 25th June 1484
3 26th June 1485 - 22 August 1485
Henry VII
1 22nd August 1485 - 21st August 1486
24 22nd August 1508 - 21st April 1509
Henry VIII
1 22nd April 1509 - 20th April 1510
38 22nd April 1546 - 28th January 1547
Edward VI
1 28th January 1547 - 27th January 1548
7 28th January 1553 - 6th July 1553
Jane
1 6th July 1553 - 19th July 1553
Mary
1 19th July 1553 - 5th July 1554
2 6th July 1554 - 24th July 1554
Philip and Mary
1&2 25th July 1554 - 5th July 1555
5&6 25th July 1558 - 17th November 1558
Elizabeth I
1 17th November 1558 - 16th November 1559
45 17th November 1602 - 24th March 1603
James I
1 24th March 1603 - 23rd March 1604
23 24th March 1625 - 27th March 1625
Charles I
1 27th March 1625 - 26 th March 1626
24 27th March 1648 - 30th January 1649
Charles II
12 27th May 1660 - 29th January 1661
Charles II dated his regnal years from the death of his father, ignoring the Commonwealth period.
13 30th January 1661 - 29th January 1662
37 30th January 1658 - 6th February 1685
James II
1 6th February 1685 - 5th February 1686
4 6th February 1688 - 11th December 1688
William and Mary
1 13th February 1689 - 12th February 1690
6 13th December 1694 - 27th December 1694
William III
6 28th December 1694 - 12th February 1695
14 13th February 1702 - 8th March 1702
Anne
1 8th March 1702 - 7th March 1703
13 8th March 1714 - 1st August 1714
George I
1 1st August 1714 - 31st July 1715
13 1st August 1726 - 11th June 1727
George II
1 11th June 1727 - 10th June 1728
26 11th June 1752 - 20th June 1753
Change to New Style calendar.
27 22nd June 1753 - 20th June 1754
34 22nd June 1760 - 25th October 1760
George III
1 25th October 1760 - 24th October 1761
60 25th October 1819 - 28th January 1820
George IV
1 28th January 1820 - 28th January 1820
11 28th January 1830 - 26th June 1830
William IV
1 26th June 1830 - 25th June 1831
7 26th June 1836 - 20th June 1837
Victoria
1 20th June 1837 - 19th June 1838
64 20th June 1900 - 22nd January 1901
Edward VII
1 22nd January 1901 - 21st January 1902
10 22nd January 1910 - 6th May 1910
George V
1 6th May 1910 - 5th May 1911
26 6th May 1925 - 20th January 1936
Edward VIII
1 20th January 1936 - 11th December 1936
George VI
1 11th December 1936 - 10th December 1937
16 11th December 1951 - 6th February 1952
Elizabeth II
1 6th February 1953
   

Quarter Days


Four days of the year were traditionally set aside for the payment of debts or loans.
These quarter days, as they were known, are:
Lady Day 25th March
Midsummer's Day 25th June
Michaelmas 25th September
Christmas Day 25th December

   

Julian Calendar

In the year 46 BC, the Greek Sosigenes convinced Julius Caesar to reform the Roman calendar to a more manageable form. At this time, Julius also changed the number of days in the months to achieve a 365 day year. In order to "catch up" with the seasons, Julius Caesar also added 90 days to the year 46 BC between November and February (Vardi 1991, p. 238).

The Julian calendar consisted of cycles of three 365-day years followed by a 366-day leap year. Around 9 BC, it was found that the priests in charge of computing the calendar had been adding leap years every three years instead of the four decreed by Caesar (Vardi 1991, p. 239). As a result of this error, no more leap years were added until 8 . Leap years were therefore 45 BC, 42 BC, 39 BC, 36 BC, 33 BC, 30 BC, 27 BC, 24 BC, 21 BC, 18 BC, 15 BC, 12 BC, 9 BC, 8 AD, 12 AD, and every fourth year thereafter (Tøndering). The UNIX command cal incorrectly lists 4 as a leap year (Vardi 1991).

   

Gregorian Calendar


The Gregorian Calendar was adopted in Britain (and in the British colonies) in 1752, with (Wednesday) September 2, 1752, being followed immediately by (Thursday) September 14, 1752.
The Gregorian reform consisted of the following:

  •  
    Ten days were omitted from the calendar, and it was decreed that the day following (Thursday) October 4, 1582 (which is October 5, 1582, in the old calendar) would thenceforth be known as (Friday) October 15, 1582.


  • The rule for leap years was changed. In the Julian Calendar a year is a leap year if it is divisible by 4. In the Gregorian Calendar a year is a leap year if either
    (i) it is divisible by 4 but not by 100 or
    (ii) it is divisible by 400.
    In other words, a year which is divisible by 4 is a leap year unless it is divisible by 100 but not by 400 (in which case it is not a leap year). Thus the years 1600 and 2000 are leap years, but 1700, 1800, 1900 and 2100 are not.

  •  
    New rules for the determination of the date of Easter were adopted.

  •  
    The position of the extra day in a leap year was moved from the day before February 25th to the day following February 28th.

 

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