DEVON-L ArchivesArchiver > DEVON > 1999-06 > 0929568492
From: Arthur French <>
Subject: Re: Parish Register dates (Old Style)
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 1999 14:28:12 -0700
" Wed, 16 Jun 1999 21:02:08 +1200
"Brian Frankpitt" <>
"I have been told that the date sequence in parish registers is as
Dec1610, Jan1610, Feb1610 Mar1610, Apr1611. Is this correct and if so
over what period did the practice occur?"
Some people used to argue that, as Mary the mother of Jesus became
pregnant on "Lady Day", March 25 (9 months before his birthday!), the
Incarnation, and the Christian era, began on March 25, and all years
should begin on March 25! So it was the practice to change the "AD"
number on that day. It was in 1752 that New Year's Day was moved back
to January 1st (effective from 1753), and at the same time Great Britain
left out eleven days between Aug 3 and Aug 14, to bring it into line
with Europe (sounds familiar?) where the calendar had been reformed in
1582 to compensate for the wrong number of leap years which had put the
solstices and equinoxes out. (There were riots, with people saying
"Give us back our eleven days!")
The dates with Jan, Feb, and most of March being attached to the
previous year are often called "Old Style" or O.S.
The tax year in UK still starts on March 25 + 11 days = April 5. We're
a conservative lot (with a small "c").