Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Give Us Back Our Eleven Days

Julian to Gregorian
The orbital period of the Earth around the Sun is approximately 365.242 days, which is why we have leap-year. Adjusting the calender every four years, but it is still off by 11 minutes per year. Before our current calendar (Gregorian), Europeans used the Julian calendar. Despite having leap years, the Julian calendar gained a day about every 134 years.
Until 1752, in England, the legal year began on “Lady Day,” which was March 25th, the last day of the year being March 24th.
When England finally changed from Julian Calendar to Gregorian in 1752, the calendar was off by 11 days. In 1752 an Act of Parliament changed the beginning of the year to January 1st this is the present calendar that we use today. The 3rd of September became the 14th of September and the year ending became December 31st. France changed in 1582, Denmark and Norway changed in 1700, Sweden 1753. The last European country to change was Greece in 1923.
Some towns in England secretly adopted the new calendar in 1582, an example of this is Thornbury in Gloucester, where there may have been a few closet Catholics. This was a town that Queen Mary frequented often.
There were rumors of riots in England when they had lost their 11 days. “Give us back our eleven days” was repeated throughout the land. However, it was probably a tongue-in-cheek story told and retold in taverns and around the hearths.
Quakers did not like the use of pagan names in the calendar, so the months were numbered instead. An easy way of remembering these dates is using the Latin prefix of some of the month name’s viz. septem (seven), octo (eight), novem ( nine) and decem (ten).
A common notation for genealogists is to use the system (old style)/(new style), for example 1735/1736. However, the slash date was only rarely used in America and England before 1752 and is only used for clarity purposes. Technically, the legal year started March 25th.

Word of the Week:
Shrovetide = Three days before Ash Wednesday.

No comments: