Monday, 14 September 2009

Today's the Day

I couldn't let this pass without comment, today in 1752 was September 14th however yesterday in 1752 was September 2nd. It was the day that the British Empire skipped eleven days in order to change to the Gregorian calendar.
It is called the Gregorian calendar after Pope Gregory XIII who described the new calendar in a Papal Bull issued on February 24th 1582. Spain, Portugal, Italy and France, amongst others, all adopted the new calendar before the end of the year. As you can see it took 170 years before Britain decided to adopt the calendar that we still use today.
Lady Day is on 25th March and was, prior to 1752, the first day of the New Year. This meant that, for example, 24th March 1700 was followed by 25th March 1701. This was the day that debts were settled and, in particular, the tax year finished. It was decided that the loss of eleven days in September 1752 would unfairly shorten the tax year so it was moved back to the 5th April which remains to this day as the end of our tax year.

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