Calendar (New Style) Act 1750

The Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 (24 Geo. II c.23) (also known as Chesterfield's Act after Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, who introduced the Bill) is an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain. The Act has four key elements:

Calendar (New Style) Act 1750
Long titleAn Act for Regulating the Commencement of the Year; and for Correcting the Calendar now in Use
Citation24 Geo. 2 c. 23
Introduced byLord Chesterfield
Territorial extent"In and throughout all his Majesty's dominions and countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America"
Territorial extent of (original) subsequent repeals (to (i.e., after) the Anniversary Days Observance Act 1859): England and Wales, Scotland
Royal assent27 May 1751
Commencement1 January 1752
Other legislation
Amended byCalendar Act 1752, Anniversary Days Observance Act 1859, Statute Law Revision Act 1948, Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1971, Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1986
Status: Amended
Text of statute as originally enacted
Text of the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from
First, it acknowledges the practical difficulties created for England and Wales because those countries began the year on 25 March whereas Scotland, most of Europe and 'common usage throughout the whole Kingdom' began the year on 1 January. Accordingly the Act reformed the calendar of England[a] and the British Dominions so that the new legal year would begin on 1 January 1752.[b]
Second, the Act acknowledges that the Julian calendar still in use had been found to be inaccurate, and that most of Europe had already adopted an (unnamed) revised calendar.[c] The Julian calendar was eleven days ahead of this (Gregorian) calendar. Britain therefore adopted the Gregorian calendar (implicitly but not explicitly). This was done by removing eleven days from September 1752.
Third, the Act applies the Gregorian dates for Easter without reference to their Roman Catholic origin.
Fourth, the Act finally settles the position of leap day as 29 February.[d]

Chesterfield introduced the Bill into the House of Lords on 25 February 1750/1.[1] The measure was only debated in the Lords. It was passed by the Commons on 13 May,[2] and received royal assent on 22 May 1751.[3]

Government not keen on reformEdit

Today a reform of this kind would be a government measure produced after a committee of enquiry. But the government was not keen on reform and the leading minister, the Duke of Newcastle, begged Chesterfield to abandon the attempt:[4]

Having consulted the duke of Newcastle; that minister, then in the zenith of his power, seemed alarmed at so bold an undertaking. He conjured the earl not to stir matters that had long been quiet, and added, that he did not love new fangled things.

Chesterfield persisted, and the reform of the calendar was an entirely private enterprise.[5] Chesterfield enlisted the support of Lord Macclesfield, later President of the Royal Society (1752–1764), who Chesterfield described as one of the greatest mathematicians and astronomers in Europe.[6] Macclesfield contributed the technical knowledge underlying the reform with support from the president of the Royal Society, Martin Folkes, and James Bradley, the astronomer royal.[7] Bradley devised the revised Easter tables. The Bill was drafted by Peter Davall, a barrister of the Middle Temple, who was also an astronomer and secretary to the Royal Society from 1747 to 1749.[8]

Chesterfield said in a letter to his son that he introduced the Bill to the Lords without understanding the details:[6]

... But then my difficulty began: I was to bring in this bill, which was necessarily composed of law jargon and astronomical calculations, to both of which I am an utter stranger. However, it was absolutely necessary to make the House of Lords think that I knew something of the matter; and also to make them believe that they knew something of it themselves, which they do not. For my own part, I could just as soon have talked Celtic or Sclavonian to them as astronomy, and they would have understood me full as well: so I resolved to do better than speak to the purpose, and to please instead of informing them. I gave them, therefore, only an historical account of calendars, from the Egyptian down to the Gregorian, amusing them now and then with little episodes …

Lord Macclesfield's speech to the Lords[4] gave a detailed explanation of the Bill but, as Chesterfield observed in the same letter to his son, it went above their Lordships' heads:

… Lord Macclesfield, who had the greatest share in forming the bill, and who is one of the greatest mathematicians and astronomers in Europe, spoke afterward with infinite knowledge, and all the clearness that so intricate a matter would admit of: but as his words, his periods, and his utterance, were not near so good as mine, the preference was most unanimously, though most unjustly, given to me …

Title of the ActEdit

It was not the practice in the 18th century to give brief titles to acts of Parliament, now known as "Short Titles". The old long titles proved increasingly inconvenient, and it later became the custom to give acts Short Titles. The Short Titles Act 1896 retrospectively gave Short Titles to old statutes which were still live.[9] Thus the Act reforming the calendar was given the Short Title "Calendar (New Style) Act 1750".

Date of the ActEdit

It may seem odd that the Calendar (New Style) Act has the date of 1750 when Royal Assent was given on 22 May 1751. The reason is that, before 1793, the date on which a Bill became law was different. Until that time, Bills were deemed to become law on the first day of the Parliamentary Session in which they passed unless the measure contained a provision to the contrary. This can be seen from the terms of Acts of Parliament (Commencement) Act 1793:[10]

Whereas every Act of Parliament in which the commencement thereof is not directed to be from a specifick time doth commence from the first day of the session of Parliament in which such Act is passed: And whereas the same is liable to produce great and manifest injustice: For remedy whereof the clerk of the Parliaments shall indorse (in English) on every Act of Parliament which shall pass after the eighth day of April one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three, immediately after the title of such Act, the day, month and year when the same shall have passed and shall have received the royal assent; and such indorsement shall be taken to be a part of such Act …

The calendar reform bill was introduced in the session which began on 17 January 1750 OS. Hence the Short Titles Act 1896 assigned the calendar reform to 1750. This procedure was potentially unfair because it could apply law retrospectively although this was not the case for calendar reform because all the changes were to occur in the future. (The 1793 Act also obtained its present Short Title by virtue of the Short Titles Act 1896.)

The reference to the old practice in the 1793 Act is still current law. The 1793 Act also used to provide the new time when a Bill became law, namely, on Royal Assent absent any other provision to the contrary. This part of the 1793 Act has been repealed and similar commencement rules are now in the Interpretation Act 1978, section 4.[11]

Reasons for changeEdit

The Parliament held that the Julian calendar then in use, and the start of the year on 25 March,[12]

attended with divers inconveniences, not only as it differs from the usage of neighbouring nations, but also from the legal method of computation in Scotland, and from the common usage throughout the whole kingdom, and thereby frequent mistakes are occasioned in the dates of deeds and other writings, and disputes arise therefrom.

Year begins 25 March compared with year begins 1 JanuaryEdit

Memorial plaque to John Etty in All Saints' Church, North Street, York, recording his date of death as 28 January 170+8/9

The difference in dates for the start of the year in England and Scotland was one source of confusion. Another was that many in England also regarded the year as beginning on 1 January, so two dating systems were sometimes in use south of the border.

For example, consider a Julian year beginning on 25 March 1719 in England and a Julian year beginning on 1 January 1719 in Scotland. Between 25 March and 31 December 1719 inclusive the dates under the two systems for beginning the year are the same. But dates falling between 1 January and 24 March inclusive are not. For example, 2 February 1719 in the year beginning 25 March is the same day as 2 February 1720 in a year beginning on 1 January.

A system of 'dual dates' (also 'double dates') developed to help reduce confusion. For example, a date written as 1 January 1719/20 (or 17+19/20) means a date of 1 January 1719 where the year began on 25 March 1719 and a date of 1 January 1720 where the year began on 1 January 1720. These are both the same day in the real world. The table below has some examples of dates in years beginning on 25 March and 1 January with, where relevant, the dual date.

Year start on 1 January: impact of Gregorian 11 days differenceEdit

There was a further problem where two merchants both began their years on 1 January but one used the Julian calendar and one used the Gregorian. After 1700, and before the British calendar reform in 1752, there were eleven days difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars. This meant the Gregorian month was one month later than the Julian month for the last eleven days of the Julian month. For example, consider Scotland and France where both countries begin the year on 1 January but used different calendars:

20 May 1719 Julian in Scotland is 31 May 1719 Gregorian in France.
21 May 1719 Julian in Scotland is 1 June 1719 Gregorian in France.

Double troubleEdit

There is an extra complication where both different year starts and different calendars were used. For example, where an English merchant using the Julian calendar begins his year on 25 March and trades with a French merchant who uses the Gregorian calendar and begins his year on 1 January. Here the parties had to bear in mind both the different start for the year and the difference of eleven days between the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The table below gives some examples. The first column shows the English date and the second the French date. The third column shows the Double Date.

Lingering confusionEdit

Those who research British and colonial history before 1752 still need to be aware of dating issues. A year which begins on 25 March 1730 ends on 24 March 1730. A child born on 31 March 1730 and who died on 1 March 1730 may seem to have expired almost a month before birth rather than eleven months after. Care must be taken when reading parish registers to take this anomaly into account, to calculate a subject's age correctly. One could also jump to the wrong conclusion about a marriage on 25 March 1615 and the birth of the first child on 31 January 1615 – almost ten months later rather than two months beforehand.

The legal yearEdit

The legal year which began on 25 March has a long history.[13] Suetonius writes that the Julian calendar introduced by Julius Caesar in 45 BC continued the old Roman practice of beginning the year with January (Latin: Januarius).[14]

Later Christians felt 1 January had no religious significance and wanted to begin the year on a more appropriate date.[15] There was no legislation or Papal Bull to enforce a change but gradually Christmas Day, 25 December, became popular in England from the time of the Venerable Bede in the 7th century AD. Christmas Day was chosen because it was seen as the day Christ came into the world. In time, theological thinking developed and the Feast of the Annunciation on 25 March gradually superseded Christmas Day as the start of the year:[16][e] this date came to be known in Britain as Lady Day. Again there was no legislation or Papal Bull enforcing the change but gradually 25 March came to be preferred and was well established by custom in England in the twelfth century and became, along with the rest of the Julian calendar, part of English Common Law.

Despite the adoption of 25 March as the start of the year, the Church continued to follow Roman practice when producing calendars.[17] The year shown in calendars in religious books still began with January and the Roman method of day counting continued. For example, the first English Book of Common Prayer of 1549 includes a calendar which begins with January even though the well established legal year began on 25 March.[18][19] It also uses the Roman method of day counting but now also alongside the modern consecutive day counting in each month. It is the continuation of the Roman calendar layout beginning with January that eventually led European countries in the 16th century to return to a year start on 1 January. For example, the Venetian Republic changed in 1522 and France in 1564. Scotland changed from 1 January 1600.[20]

A further source of confusion is the Church's liturgical year which was, and is, different again. Today the Anglican and Catholic Churches begin the year with Advent.[21][22]

By 1750 most of Europe had long since changed to a year which began on 1 January and the English practice became a source of confusion for English merchants and diplomats dealing with the Continent. The Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 removed the difficulty by changing the start of the year to 1 January for England and Wales and the colonies. The change applied from 1 January 1752. The legal year which began on 25 March 1751 became a short year of 282 days, running from 25 March 1751 to 31 December 1751.

(The choice of the start of the year was a separate issue from the choice of calendar. Scotland changed to a 1 January start in 1600 but continued to use the Julian calendar for another 152 years. Until 1752, England kept a 25 March start and also used the Julian calendar.)

Change to the Gregorian calendarEdit

Pope Gregory's reform in 1582 removed ten days from the old Julian calendar.[23] Gregory did this because the Julian calendar had got out of step with the real world. This happened because the Julian calendar has about three more days every four hundred years than reality. By 1582 the error had accumulated so that the date of the Spring Equinox had moved by about ten days from the time of the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD when it fell on 21 March. The Spring Equinox was believed by the sixteenth century Church to be a key date used in the calculation of Easter by the Council. Gregory's Church felt it was important to celebrate Easter at the "right" time and the omission of ten days brought the Spring Equinox back to around 21 March, as it had been in 325 AD

It was also necessary to prevent the same Julian error accruing in the future so Gregory's reform also provided a new method for calculating leap years. Under the Julian calendar a leap year fell every four years; that is, when the year was exactly divisible by four. The additional Gregorian rule said that no centennial year could be a leap year unless it was also exactly divisible by 400. The centennial years are the years 1600, 1700, 1800, 1900, 2000, and so on. The effect of the new rule was to remove three days from the new calendar every 400 years.

Because of this new rule the year 1700 was not a leap year under the Gregorian calendar but it remained a leap year under the Julian calendar. This meant that when Britain reformed the calendar in 1750 the Julian calendar was now 11 days ahead of the Gregorian. Hence to make the change to the Gregorian calendar it was necessary for Britain to omit 11 days. This was done by providing that Wednesday 2 September 1752 was followed by Thursday 14 September 1752.[f] The year 1752 was a leap year so that it consisted of 355 days (366 days less 11 omitted).

To keep the British calendar in step for the future section 2 of the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 also provided that centennial years could only be leap years if they were also divisible by 400. Thus 1800 and 1900 are not leap years but 2000 remains a leap year. The Act is remarkable because it specifically provides in section 2 that the years 2000, 2400, 2800, and every subsequent four hundredth year are to be leap years.

Section 3 of the Act provides that fixed feast days continue to be observed on the same calendar date. Thus, Christmas Day was still celebrated on 25 December. After the reform Christmas Day 1752 fell on 25 December 1752. That day would have been the Julian date of 14 December 1752. Moveable feasts dependent on the date of Easter were now geared to the new rules for Easter.

The Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 includes various measures to prevent injustice and other problems. For example, section 6, echoing a rule in Gregory's reform, provides that the date on which rents and other debts are due must be deferred by 11 days. In addition the Act says a person does not reach a particular age, including especially the age of majority, until the complete number of years have passed.

Date of EasterEdit

Pope Gregory's rules for the date of Easter were also adopted. However, with the potential for religious strife in mind, the promoters of the Bill concealed the Roman Catholic connection. The (Anglican) Church authorities were told that new British computations had produced a more accurate result.[citation needed] The Annexe to the Act established a computation for the date of Easter that achieved the same result as Gregory's rules, without actually referring to him.[24] The algorithm, set out in the Book of Common Prayer as required by the Act, includes calculation of the Golden Number and the Sunday Letter, which (in the Easter section of the Book) were presumed to be already known. The Annexe to the Act includes the definition: "Easter-day (on which the rest depend) is always the first Sunday after the Full Moon, which happens upon, or next after the Twenty-first Day of March. And if the Full Moon happens upon a Sunday, Easter-day is the Sunday after." The Annexe subsequently uses the terms "Paschal Full Moon" and "Ecclesiastical Full Moon", making it clear that they only approximate to the real Full Moon.[25]

In his The Book of Almanacs (1851), Augustus de Morgan (Professor of Mathematics at University College, London), commented on the definition of Easter in the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750. He noted that the body of the Act wrongly stated the way Easter was calculated but that the annexed Tables correctly set out the dates for Easter as prescribed by Pope Gregory.[26]

Leap dayEdit

Today we know that leap day falls on 29 February. This was not always the case and, once again, the story goes back to the Romans. When the Julian calendar was introduced in 45 BC leap day was different in two respects. First, leap day fell within February and not at the end. Second, leap day was not counted so that a leap year consisted of 365 days.[27]

The Romans treated leap day as a second sixth day before the Kalends of March. In Latin this is ante diem bis sextum Kalendas Martias. The word bis means 'twice' or 'again'. So the extra day is the second sixth—bis sextum—of the Kalends of March. This 'bissextile' day is the leap day and the 'bissextile' year is a year which includes a leap day.[27] The second instance of the sixth day of the Kalends of March was inserted in calendars before the sixth day. By a legal fiction the Romans treated the sixth and the second sixth days of the Kalends of March as one day. Thus a child born on either of those days in a leap year would have its first birthday on the following sixth day of the Kalends of March. When, many years later, modern consecutive day counts were laid alongside the Roman dates the sixth day of the Kalends of March fell on 24 February. However, in a leap year the sixth day fell on 25 February because the second sixth day came before the sixth day.

The medieval Church continued the Roman practice which can be illustrated by, for example, the feast of Saint Matthias which used to be celebrated on the sixth day before the Kalends of March in both common and leap years. The calendar for February in the Book of Common Prayer of 1549 shows the position in a normal year when the feast of St Matthias is on the sixth day of the Kalends of March which is alongside 24 February. The position in a leap year is not shown in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer but the prior insertion of the second sixth day meant the feast of St Matthias fell on 25 February in leap years. This practice ended in England some time after Henry VIII split from Rome, specifically in the 1662 edition of the Book of Common Prayer.[28] Consecutive day counting has entirely replaced the Roman system. The feast of St Matthias is invariably on 24 February and leap day is shown at the end of February.[29] [g]

The Church and civil society also continued the Roman practice whereby the leap day was simply not counted so that a leap year was only reckoned as 365 days. Henry III of England's Statute De Anno et Die Bissextili[h] of 1236[31] instructed magistrates to ignore the leap day when persons were being ordered to appear before the court within a year.[30] The practical application of the rule is obscure. It was regarded as in force in the time of the famous lawyer Sir Edward Coke (1552–1634) because he cites it in his Institutes of the Lawes of England. However, Coke merely quotes the act with a short translation and does not give practical examples.[32]

‘ … and by (b) the statute de anno bissextili, it is provided, quod computentur dies ille excrescens et dies proxime præcedens pro unico dii, so as in computation that day excrescent is not accounted.’

As mentioned above, the subsequent status of the leap day before the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 changed with the Book of Common Prayer of 1662. It was not a statute of Parliament but it was authorised by the Act of Uniformity 1662.[33] The Courts saw this as endorsing and possibly modifying the existing Common Law view of the calendar. The Book of Common Prayer 1662 included a calendar which used entirely consecutive day counting and showed leap day as falling on 29 February. In the 1703 case of Brough v Parkings Chief Justice Holt observed:[34]

We take notice of all the feasts, and the almanack is part of the common law, the calendar being established by Act of Parliament, and it is published before the Common Prayer Book.

Section 2 of the Calendar (New Style) Act contains the new Gregorian rule for determining leap years in the future and also makes it quite clear that leap years contain 366 days:

... shall for the future, and in all Times to come, be esteemed and taken to be Bissextile or Leap Years, consisting of three hundred and sixty six Days, in the same Sort and Manner as is now used with respect to every fourth Year of Our Lord.

In addition, the calendar at the end of this Act confirms that leap day falls on 29 February.[35]

In the 1817 case of The King against The Inhabitants of Roxby where the length of the year was crucial the court said the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 "enacts that leap year shall consist of 366 days".[36]

Territorial scope of the ActEdit

The Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 applied:

In and throughout all his Majesty's dominions and countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, belonging or subject to the crown of Great Britain


The Normans conquered parts of Wales and English law was increasingly applied. The Welshman Henry Tudor seized the English Crown in 1485 when he defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth. He founded the Tudor dynasty as Henry VII. In practice there was an effective union of England and Wales. Various acts passed by the English Parliament between 1535 and 1542, sometimes called acts of union, consolidated the combination of England and Wales as a single jurisdiction. Nevertheless, before 1746 it was often uncertain whether a reference to 'England' in legislation of the London Parliament included Wales. The Wales and Berwick Act 1746 provided that in all legislation, past and future,[i] the word 'England' was deemed to include Wales and thus the Act applied despite it not being named explicitly.


Scotland had already made part of the change: its calendar year had begun on 1 January since 1600.[37] Thus, in Scotland, the day after 31 December 1599 became 1 January 1600 instead of 1 January 1599, as it otherwise would have done for a year which began on 25 March 1599.

James VI of Scotland and his council were prompted to make the change in 1600 by the example of Continental countries, as the recitals in the Register of the Scottish Privy Council of 17 December 1599 record:[38]

The Kingis Majestie and Lordis of his Secreit Counsall undirstanding that in all utheris weill governit commouns welthis and cuntreyis the first day of the yeir begynis yeirlie upoun the first day of Januare, commounlie callit new yeiris day, and that this realme onlie is different fra all utheris in the compt and reckning of the yeiris and his Majestie and Counsall willing thair sall be na disconformitie betwix His Majestie his realm and liegis and uthiris nichtbour countreyis in this particular, bot that they sall conform thaimselffis to the ordour and custom observit by ally uthiris countreyis, especiallie seing the course and sesoun of the yeir is maist propir and ansuerabill thairto, and that the alteration thair of importis na hurt nor prejudice to onie partie thairfoir his Majestie with the advise of the Lordis of his Secreit Counsall statutis and ordanis that in all tyme cuming the first day of the yeir sal begin yeirlie upoun the first day of Januare lm and sex hundredth yeir of God thairfoir Ordanis and Commandis the Clerkis of his Hienes sessioun and signet the Directour and writtaris of the Chancellarie and Prevey Seall, and all utheris Jugeis writtaris notaris and clerks within this realme that thay and everie ane of thame in all tyme heirefter date all their decreittis insestmentis charteris seasingis letteris and writtis quhatsumevir according to his present ordinance compting the first day of the yeir fra the first day of Januare yeirlie and the first day of the lm and VI[j] yeir of God fra the first day of Januare nixtocum And ordains publicatioun to be maid heirof at the mercat croceis of the heir burrowis of this realme quhairthrow name pretend ignorance of the same.

The remainder of the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 applied equally to Scotland, a part of the Kingdom of Great Britain since the Acts of Union 1707.


At the time, the Kingdom of Ireland was a semi-autonomous kingdom in a personal union with the Kingdom of Great Britain. So that the calendar in Ireland would remain harmonised with that of Great Britain, the Parliament of Ireland passed similarly worded legislation as the "Calendar (New Style) Act, 1750".[39]


The Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 applied to Britain's American colonies: the north-eastern states of the present day United States and part of Canada.[40] Some British law, including the 1750 Act, is still applicable in some US states because, when American independence was declared in 1776, it was not practical for these former colonies to create an entirely new body of American law to replace British law. The practical solution adopted was to continue to apply British law as it stood in 1776 but subject to the proviso that it could be overridden by any subsequent provision of American law.[41] Some States later passed brief calendar measures but others left the old British Act in place.

Florida is an example of the continued application of the relevant parts of the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750. The Territory that became Florida was ceded by Spain to the United States in 1819. The new State of Florida repealed Spanish law and enacted a provision which said (and continues to say):[42]

The common and statute law of England which are of a general and not a local nature ... down to the fourth day of July 1776, are declared to be in force in this state, provided the said statutes and common law be not inconsistent with the constitution and laws of the United States and the acts of the legislature of this state.

— Title I, Chapter 2, 2.01: Common law and certain statutes declared in force.

James Bryan Whitfield, a former Florida Supreme Court judge, together with others, produced in 1941 a comprehensive list of the relevant measures. This built on earlier work by Missouri. The list includes the key part of the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750.[43]

Some states adopted as their common law the laws of England in 1607, predating the 1750 Act.[44]

There is no federal calendar law.[45]

Other former British coloniesEdit

The Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 applies directly or indirectly in other former British colonies. The Act remains directly in force in Canada as part of Canadian law.[46][47]

Early Australian colonial legislation applied British law.[48] Subsequently, various reviews have considered the relevance of old British statutes. Australian States eventually repealed British statutes but re-enacted those which remained relevant, such as the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750. For example, New South Wales passed the Imperial Acts Application Act 1969, the First Schedule of which repeals various British statutes including the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750.[49] At the same time section 16 continues the operation of the British Calendar Act by restating key parts and by referring to that Act for the details.[50] Other Australian States passed similar measures.

New Zealand also passed early legislation at various times applying British law.[51][52] In 1988, New Zealand enacted the Imperial Laws Application Act 1988, which disapplied all but a limited schedule of English Acts it declared to be 'part of the laws of New Zealand', one of which is the Calendar (New Style) Act 1759.[53]

Asia and AfricaEdit

Britain had by this time begun colonising India and parts of Africa—hence the references to Asia and Africa.


Apart from Great Britain and Ireland, the only part of Europe under British sovereignty was Gibraltar. However, each session of Parliament began with a recital of the continued the legal fiction that the King was also the rightful King of France.[54]

Reaction and effectEdit

"Give us back our eleven days!" – the calendar riot mythEdit

An Election Entertainment (c. 1755), a painting by William Hogarth, which is the main source for "Give us our Eleven Days".

Some history books say that some people rioted after the calendar change, asking that their "eleven days" be returned. However this is very likely a myth, based as it is on only two primary sources: The World, a satirical journal of Lord Chesterfield, and An Election Entertainment, a painting by William Hogarth; there are no records of any such events in the riot depositions at the Public Record Office.[55][56]

This same Chesterfield introduced the Bill to the House of Lords. He wrote to his son, "Every numerous assembly is a mob, let the individuals who compose it be what they will. Mere sense is never to be talked to a mob; their passions, their sentiments, their senses and their seeming interests alone are to be applied to. Understanding have they collectively none."[1] There is no record of which "numerous assembly" he had in mind.

When the son of the Earl of Macclesfield (who had been influential in passing the Act) stood for Parliament in Oxfordshire as a Whig in 1754, dissatisfaction with the calendar reform was one of a number of issues raised by his Tory opponents. In 1755, William Hogarth produced a painting (and an engraved print from the painting) loosely based on these elections, entitled An Election Entertainment, which shows a placard carrying the slogan "Give us our Eleven Days" (on floor at lower right). An example of the resulting incorrect history is by Ronald Paulson, author of Hogarth, His Life, Art and Times, who wrote that "the Oxfordshire people … are specifically rioting, as historically the London crowd did, to preserve the 'Eleven Days' the government stole from them in September 1752 by changing the calendar".[57]

Thus the "calendar riot" fiction was born. The election campaign depicted concluded in 1754, after a very lengthy contest between Court Whigs and Jacobite Tories. Every issue between the two factions was brought up, including the question of calendar reform. The Tories attacked the Whigs for every deviation, including their alleged favouritism towards foreign Jews and the "Popish" calendar. Hogarth's placard, part of a satire on the character of the debate, was not an observation of actual crowd behaviour.[57]

Financial concernsEdit

Three Market Days unto the Farmer's lost,
Yet three per Cent, is added to his Cost:
The Landlord calls for Rent before 'tis due,
King's Tax, and Windows, Poor, and Parson too;
With Numbers more, our Grandsiers never knew.
Domestick Servants all will have their Pay,
And force their Masters e're the Quarter Day.

How shall the Wretch, then glean his Harvest in,
His Cash expended e're he does begin;...
Or how the Miser cram his Bags with Pelf,
If that he don't receive it first himself?

True Briton, Bristol, 20 September 1752[58][k]

There were, however, legitimate concerns lest tax and other payments arise any earlier under the new calendar than they would otherwise have done. Consequently, Provision 6 of the Act (Times of Payment of Rents, Annuities) stipulated that monthly or yearly payments would not become due until the dates that they originally would have done had the Julian calendar continued or, in the words of the Act, "[Times of Payment of Rents, Annuities] at and upon the same respective natural days and times as the same should and ought to have been payable or made or would have happened in case this Act had not been made".[59] Poole writes 'In the Treasury, joint secretary James West considered the effects of the Act on the public purse. Old salaries, he deduced, would fall due on the Old Style feast-days and quarter-days, but new ones on the New: "this will make an odd jumble in Annuities and other payments at the Exchequer". Furthermore, different taxes were voted from different dates, while the navy estimates, traditionally covering thirteen months, defied recalculation. West eventually drew up a table of abatements for the eleven missing days, amounting to sevenpence in the pound,[l] which would shorten the financial year 1752-3 and allow payments to keep to their existing nominal dates.'[60] and 'Government officials were not alone in appreciating the convenience of a system of abatements. Tables of abatements for the eleven missing days were widely published in the press and reprinted by popular demand, notwithstanding the provisions of the Act'.[60]

This provision applied to defer payment of Window Tax which was a permanent tax. It did not apply to Land Tax which was re-enacted each year (see the section below about the UK income tax year).

Religious dissentEdit

As already observed, the authors of the Act and the associated text to revise the Book of Common Prayer were careful to minimise the impact on religious sensitivities by expressing the revision in terms familiar to the traditions of the established Church of England. They had reason to be cautious: the Government of Elizabeth I had first attempted in 1583/4 to reform the calendar but the proposal was rejected by the Anglican hierarchy of the day, because of its Popish origins.[61] Again, when in 1699 Sir Isaac Newton renewed the campaign to correct the calendar, his proposal foundered on doctrinal objections.[62] By the middle of the 18th Century, however, it seems that the climate had changed somewhat, The traditional saint's days like Lady Day, Michaelmas and Martinmas had come to mark events in the civil calendar such as fair days, rent days and hiring days far more than they did days of special religious observance. "The religious calendar of the established church continued, but it encompassed a shrinking proportion of the population as Dissent expanded at the expense of Anglicanism, and as parish wakes, feasts and saints' days were themselves disowned by many parish clergy".[63] So the Act explicitly exempted fairs from the calendar reform; "that is, they were to change their nominal date to retain the same place in the season, thus in effect observing the Old Style."[64]

Old ChristmasEdit

The revision to the Book of Common Prayer setting the new basis for calculating the date Easter (and its associated events like Lent) appears to have passed without public controversy, "perhaps because few people understood how Easter worked anyway".[65] The date of Christmas, however, proved to be a different matter. The Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Chronicle, 23 January 1753 reported that a "vast concourse of people" in Somerset gathered at the (Christmas-flowering) Glastonbury thorn on 24 December 1752 (NS) to test the authenticity of the new date "but to their great disappointment, there was no appearance of its blowing, which made them watch it narrowly the 5th of Jan. the Christmas-Day, Old-Stile, when it blow'd as usual.",[66] although the vicar of Glastonbury later announced that it had in fact flowered nearer New Christmas Day.[66] Elsewhere, a Reverend Francis Blackburne opened his church on Friday, 5 January 1753 (NS, 25 December 1752 OS)  – to a congregation which filled the building. "The people were sorely disappointed, however, when the rector did not use the service designated for Christmas Day but instead, like a crusading clergyman of the twentieth century, preached a sermon on the virtue of obeying the Calendar Act".[66]

Amendments to Calendar (New Style) Act 1750Edit

Calendar Act 1751Edit

The Calendar Act 1751[67] corrected some problems that soon emerged with the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750.

First, doubts arose about the legal validity of actions which were due to have been executed on the omitted eleven days 3 September to 13 September 1752. To meet this difficulty section 1 of the 1751 Act provided that for 1752 only those actions were deemed to have been implemented as if the reform had not taken place.

Second, section 2 of the 1751 Act dealt with doubts about the days specified for the days of the opening of common land, the payment of rents and other matters. The solution is that acts governed by movable feasts must now reflect the dates of those feasts in the revised calendar.

Third, section 3 provided that nothing shall abridge, extend or alter the title of anyone to land.

Fourth, section 4 dealt with a problem about the date for electing the mayor of the City of London created by the interaction of the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 and an unrelated Act which shortened the Michaelmas term. A similar problem was found with the mayoral ceremony in Chester and this was corrected later, rather inelegantly, by an addition to an act about distemper in cattle.[68]

Fifth, the omission of eleven days meant the herring fishing season was shortened causing the loss of the best part of the catch. The 1751 corrected this by extending the season.

Anniversary Days Observance Act 1859Edit

Section 3 of the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 required the observation of certain days of political or religious significance. These are listed in a Table headed Certain Solemn Days for which particular Services are appointed:

I. The Fifth Day of November, being the Day kept in Memory of the Papist Conspiracy.

II. The Thirtieth Day of January, being the Day kept in Memory of the Martyrdom of King Charles I.

III. The Twenty ninth Day of May, being the Day kept in Memory of the Birth and Return of King Charles II.

As part of the development of religious and political toleration, section 1 of the Anniversary Days Observance Act 1859 removed from various acts, including the calendar act, the obligation to commemorate these days with special church services.

Easter Act 1928Edit

The Easter Act 1928 provides for the possibility of permanently fixing the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the second Saturday in April. An Order in Council is needed to trigger the change and no Order has been made. The 1928 act includes revised words for the table of Moveable and Immoveable Feasts in the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750. When the date of Easter is fixed there will be substituted in place of the words about the full moon the words in square brackets:

Easter Day, on which the rest depend, [is always the first Sunday after the second Saturday in April].

The Easter Act provides that 'regard shall be had to any opinion expressed by any church or other Christian body'. This Act has never come into force.

Statute Law Revisions Act 1948Edit

The Statute Law Revision Act 1948 simplified and removed some redundant words from section VI of the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750, including the reference to the time at which the age of 21, or any other age, is reached. The provision about age could only affect those alive at the time of calendar reform. The 1948 act also repealed the "Table to find Easter till the Year 1899 inclusive" and the "Table of the Moveable Feasts for Fifty two years". By 1948 these tables had ceased to be relevant and this Act deletes them.[69]

Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1971Edit

The calendar included in the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 is headed The Calendar, with the Table of Lessons. For each month the morning and evening prayers are specified. The Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1971 act removed the words with the Table of Lessons and also all the specified prayers in the Table. The changes followed a Law Commission Report and reflected the views of the Church.

Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1986Edit

Section IV of the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 has provisions about the dates for meetings of courts of in Scotland. These were repealed by the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1986.

Why the United Kingdom income tax year begins on 6 AprilEdit


British tax acts in the middle of the eighteenth century said the tax year ran "from" 25 March. The use of "from" is crucial because the word has a special legal meaning which caused the tax year to begin one day later, namely, on 26 March. The taxes charged by the year in the mid eighteenth century were Land Tax (an annual tax till 1798) and Window Tax (a permanent tax). Both applied to a year "from" 25 March.

The Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 omitted eleven days from September 1752 but, despite this omission, the tax year continued to run from 25 March until 1758 when Parliament added eleven days to the Window Tax year so that it began on 6 April. The Land Tax year never changed.

Legal ruleEdit

When a document or statute said a period of time was to run "from" a date an old legal rule provided that the period began on the following day. This rule of interpretation dates back at least to Sir Edward Coke's landmark work of 1628 called the Institutes of the Lawes of England.[70] Coke's book was written as a commentary on the 1481 treatise on property law by Sir Thomas Littleton. Hence the specialist use of "from" may originate much earlier than 1628. The key passage in the Institutes is short:

But let us return to Littleton … Touching on the time of the beginning of a lease for yeares, it is to be observed, that if a lease be made by indenture, bearing date 26 Maii &c to have and to hold for twenty one yeares, from the date, or from the day of the date, it shall begin on the twenty seventh day of May. [Emphasis added.][71]

Coke's Institutes were an important source of education for lawyers and editions were published up to the nineteenth century. This is why tax acts in the eighteenth century used "from" 25 March in an exclusive sense to mean a period beginning on the following day. Numerous court cases have arisen because the technical meaning of from a date in acts and documents has been misunderstood.[72] The Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, which drafts legislation today, has published online drafting guidance which says the from a date formulation is ambiguous and should not be used.[73]

Perhaps the most important contemporary authority for the start of the Land Tax year is in An Exposition of the Land Tax by Mark A Bourdin of the Inland Revenue which was published in 1854. In a footnote on page 34 he says:

"The year of assessment is from 26th March to the 25 March following.

— Mark A Bourdin.[74]

Bourdin does not use from in the strict sense required by Coke but it is clear that he believes the Land Tax year begins on 26 March and ends on the following 25 March.

In 1798 William Pitt made Land Tax permanent with the Land Tax Perpetuation Act 1798.[75] Section 3, for example, refers to "an assessment made in the year ending on the twenty fifth day of March 1799", which confirms the Land Tax year begins on 26 March. The Land Tax year remained essentially unchanged until the tax was abolished in 1963.

A number of authorities explain why the old tax year began on 26 March so that the addition of eleven days led directly to the modern tax year which begins on 6 April.[76][77][78][79]

Accounting conventionEdit

Accounting practice from time immemorial also took the same view. A quarter day, such as Lady Day which falls on 25 March, marked the end of an accounting period and not the beginning. This view is taken by leading authorities including The Exchequer Year,[80][81] The Pipe Roll Society[82] and Dr Robert Poole in two works.[83][84]

In the 1995 work Calendar Reform Dr Poole cites Treasury Board Papers at the National Archives under reference T30 12 and explains that, after the omission of eleven days in September 1752, Treasury quarterly accounts carried on being drawn up to the same four days in the real world but the dates had moved on by eleven days. He says:[60]

... so the national accounts continued to be made up to end on the Old Style quarter-days of 5 January, 5 April, 5 July and 10 October.

These were the old quarter days of 25 December, 25 March, 24 June and 29 September plus eleven days. Dr Poole's analysis is confirmed by a minute of the Board of Customs on 19 September 1752, shortly after the omission of the eleven days 3 to 13 September 1752 and not long before the first quarter day affected by the omission—Michaelmas 29 September 1752. The minute says:[85]

On the correcting of the Kalendar all Quarterly Accounts and Payments of the Customs of what nature or kind 'soever are to be closed on 10th October—5th January—5th April and 5th July, And the Annual Accounts are to be made out from 5th January to 5th January in every Year.

Eleven days added to prevent loss of tax?Edit

Some commentators suggest the government added eleven days to the end of the tax year which began on 26 March 1752. They say this was done to avoid the loss of tax which they believe would otherwise have been caused by the omission of eleven days in September 1752. The Inland Revenue took this view in 1999 in a note issued on the 200th anniversary of the introduction of income tax in 1799.[86]

In fact the British tax authorities did not add eleven days to the end of the tax year which began on 26 March 1752. They did not need to add eleven days because the taxes charged by the year captured artificial, deemed income, and not actual income. For Land Tax, the more important of the two, the amounts taxed were fixed sums linked to the market rental value of property in 1692 when the tax was introduced.[87] For Window Tax it was so much per window. The same tax was due regardless of the year length. Window Tax was a permanent tax and its year did not change until 1758 when the tax was recast and the tax year moved by eleven days to run "from" 5 April.[88] That meant a year which began on 6 April because of Sir Edward Coke's 1628 interpretation rule.[70]

The Land Tax year never changed after 1752 and continued to run "from" 25 March (Lady Day). The entire Land Tax code, running to 80 pages, was re-enacted every year until 1798 when it was made permanent. Hence there was ample opportunity to revise the date on which the Land Tax year began but no change was made.

Online editions of British statutes generally omit the annual Land Tax Acts because of their transitory nature. The National Archives at Kew holds printed statute series which include copies of all the Land Tax Acts. However, a few Land Tax Acts are available online including the last annual Land Tax Act for the year from 25 March 1798.[89] The 1798 Act uses the standard "from" formula and says in section 2:

that the sum of one million nine hundred eighty-nine thousand six hundred seventy-three pound seven shillings and ten-pence farthing ... shall be raised, levied and paid unto his Majesty within the space of one year from the twenty-fifth day of March 1798. [Emphasis added.]

Income TaxEdit

William Pitt introduced the first income tax in 1799 and he followed the Window Tax precedent by adopting a year which ran "from" 5 April.[90] That meant, once again, a year which began on 6 April and this has remained the start of the year ever since. For example, Addington's Income Tax Act 1803 continued to apply "from" 5 April—in this case from 5 April 1803.[91] Again, this meant a year beginning on 6 April 1803.

Income tax was repealed temporarily in 1802 during a brief period of peace in the long war with France. The act which repealed the tax included a provision which permitted the collection of tax due for earlier years. This saving provision confirmed that Pitt's income tax year ended on 5 April:[92]

Provided always, and be it enacted, That the said respective Rates and Duties …shall continue in force for the Purpose of duly charging to the said Rates and Duties all Persons … who shall not have been respectively charged to the said Duties for the Year ending on the fifth Day of April 1802, or for any prior year … [Emphasis added.]

It was not until 1860 that income tax legislation consistently adopted a charging formulation of the kind recommended today by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel to identify the income tax year. For 1860-61 the tax was applied "for a year commencing on 6 April 1860".[93] [Emphasis added.]

Section 48(3) of the Taxes Management Act 1880 later provided a definition of the income tax year for the first time and uses 'from' in the modern sense:[94]

Every assessment shall be made for the year commencing and ending on the days herein specified.

(3) As regards income tax—
In Great Britain and Ireland from the sixth day of April to the following fifth day of April inclusive.

Section 28 Finance Act 1919 provided a new shorthand way to refer to the tax year:[95]

"The expression 'the year 1919-20' means the year of assessment beginning on the sixth day of April 1919, and any expression in which two years are similarly mentioned means the year of assessment beginning on the sixth day of April in the first mentioned of those years".

Finally, following a review aimed at simplifying tax legislation, a new definition appeared in section 4 Income Tax Act 2007:[96]

(1) Income tax is charged for a year only if an Act so provides.

(2) A year for which income tax is charged is called a 'tax year'.

(3) A tax year begins on 6 April and ends on the following 5 April.

(4) 'The tax year 2007-08' means the tax year beginning on 6 April 2007 (and any corresponding expression in which two years are similarly mentioned is to be read in the same way).

Old explanation for 6 April tax yearEdit

An alternative explanation of the origin of the tax year is still found on some British tax websites. This stems from a book published in 1921 by Alexander Philip.[97] The relevant passage is short:

A curious instance of the persistence of the old style is to be found in the date of the financial year of the British Exchequer. Prior to 1752 that year officially commenced on 25th March. In order to ensure that if should always comprise a complete year the commencement of the financial year was altered to the 5th April. In 1800, owing to the omission of a leap year day observed by the Julian calendar, the commencement of the financial year was moved forward one day to 6th April, and 5th April became the last day of the preceding year. In 1900, however, this pedantic correction was overlooked, and the financial year is still held to terminate of 5th April, as it so happens that the Easter celebration occurs just about that time—indeed one result is that about one-half of the British financial years include two Easters and about one-half contain no Easter date.

— Alexander Philip, The Calendar: its history, structure and improvement[97]

Philip does not give any reason for his view and it is no longer regarded as correct. Philip does not cite any legislation or other authority. It is also worth noting that the "financial year" he mentions is not the same as the income tax year. The financial year is statutorily defined by the Interpretation Act 1978 as the year which ends on 31 March.[98] which repeats an earlier similar definition in section 22 Interpretation Act 1889.[99] This is the year for government accounting and for corporation tax. Poole gives a simpler explanation:[100]

The twelve- rather than eleven-day discrepancy between the start of the old year (25 March) and that of the modern financial year (6 April) has caused puzzlement, [...] In fact, 25 March was first day of the [calendar] year but the last day of the financial quarter, corresponding to 5 April; the difference was thus exactly eleven days.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Scotland had changed to a 1 January start in 1600.
  2. ^ Where "1 January 1752" was defined as "the day after 31 December 1751" because, absent the Act, it would have been 1 January 1751 OS
  3. ^ The Act makes no reference to Gregory, since to do so might imply recognition of Papal primacy. It defined a calendar identical to the Gregorian system, from the same first principles.
  4. ^ Some authorities had continued to follow the Roman calendar method of inserting the leap day between 24 February and 25 February, then ignoring it for legal purposes (see #Leap day, below).
  5. ^ The time of Christ's conception, nine months before Christmas Day, became regarded as the true date when Christ came into the world. This was "the Annunciation"
  6. ^ "An unusual calendar is printed for September 1752. That is the month 11 days were skipped to make up for lack of leap year adjustments" (Solaris manual and Cal (Unix)#Features).
  7. ^ The Roman Catholic Church continued with the old practice until 1969 when it moved the feast of St Matthias to 14 May. However the leap day remains 24 February.
  8. ^ 'Statute concerning [the] leap year and leap day'[30]
  9. ^ The 1746 Act was repealed by the Welsh Language Act 1967 for the future but not the past. From 1967, legislation refers to ‘England’, ‘Wales’ or ‘England and Wales’ as appropriate.
  10. ^ lm and VI is shorthand for 1600.
  11. ^ Poole adds a comment that 'The end-point of a rather tortuous argument was that the abatements should have been greater. The journal adopted the New Style and supported the reform, pointing out only that the Gregorian calendar was still slightly inaccurate.
  12. ^ Seven old pennies in a pound of 240 pence equates to just over 2.9%; eleven days in a year of 365 is just over 3%


  1. ^ a b Chesterfield 1751, letter CXXXII, page 193.
  2. ^ "House of Lords Journal Volume 27: May 1751, 11-20". British History Online. pp. 558–569. A Message was brought from the House of Commons, by Mr. Grey and others to return the Bill, intituled, "An Act for regulating the Commencement of the Year, and for correcting the Calendar now in Use," and to acquaint this House, that they have agreed to the said Bill, with some Amendments, whereunto they desire their Lordships Concurrence.
  3. ^ "House of Lords Journal Volume 27: May 1751, 21-30". British History Online. pp. 569–578. But see heading #Date of the Act below for the contemporary significance of the date of Royal Assent.
  4. ^ a b Cobbett, ed. (1813). "Proceedings in the Lords on the Bill for the Commencement of the Year for correcting the Calendar now in use". The Parliamentary History of England from the earliest period to the year 1803 [...] the Parliamentary debates. XIV AD 1747 1753. Hansard. R. Bagshaw. Debate in House of Lords in 1751 column 980, 981
  5. ^ Poole 1998, p. 113.
  6. ^ a b Chesterfield 1751, letter CXXXV, page 197.
  7. ^ Poole 1998, p. 114-115.
  8. ^ Poole 1998, p. 115.
  9. ^ "Short Titles Act 1896",, The National Archives, 20 September 1896, 1896 c. 14, retrieved 6 November 2020 First Schedule.
  10. ^ Danby Pickering, ed. (1799). "XII An act to prevent acts of parliament from taking effect from a time prior to the passing thereof". The Statutes at Large from Magna Charta to the end of the Eleventh Parliament of Great Britain Anno 1761 (continued). XXXIX, Τhe Statutes at Large Anno tricesimo tertio Georgii III Regis Being the Third Session of the Seventeenth Parliament of Great Britain. Cambridge. (Short title: "Acts of Parliament (Commencement) Act 1783". 33 Geo III c.13)
  11. ^ "Interpretation Act 1978: Section 4",, The National Archives, 1978 c. 30 (s. 4)
  12. ^ "Calendar (New Style) Act 1750, Introduction". Parliament of Great Britain – via National Archives.
  13. ^ C R Cheney 1945.
  14. ^ Suetonius on Julius Caesar's calendar reform. Chapter 40.
  15. ^ C R Cheney 1945, Chapter 1, Section IV.
  16. ^ C R Cheney 1945, Chapter 1, Section IV. Headings Christmas Day and the Annunciation.
  17. ^ C R Cheney 1945, Chapter 1, Section IV. Heading 1 January.
  18. ^ Edward Whytchurche (1549). William Gott (ed.). Book of Common Prayer. printer: Thomas Cranmer. Church of England.
  19. ^ Edward Whytchurche (1549). "The table and Kalendar, expressing the ordre of the Psalmes and Lessons to be sayed at Matyns and Evensong throughout the yeare, excepte certayne proper feastes, as the Rules folowing more plainlye declare.". Book of Common Prayer 1549. Church of England. (ASCII text transcription)
  20. ^ C R Cheney 1945, Chapter 12.
  21. ^ "[Anglican] Liturgical year". Church of England.
  22. ^ "What is the [Catholic] liturgical year?".
  23. ^ C R Cheney 1945, Chapter 1, Section VII.
  24. ^ "3 'Easter and the other moveable feasts to be observed according to the new calendar, tables and rules. Feast and fasts, etc. to be according to the new calendar.'". Calendar (New Style) Act 1750. 24 Geo. II, cap. 23. National Archives.CS1 maint: others (link) (ASCII text)
  25. ^ "Annexe: The New Calendar, Tables and Rules". Calendar (New Style) Act 1750. 24 Geo. II, cap. 23.CS1 maint: others (link) at "Table to find Easter-day from the year 1900 to the year 2199 inclusive". (image)
  26. ^ Augustus de Morgan (1851). The Book of Almanacs. p. viii (Introduction) – via The description copied into prayer-books from the Act of Parliament for the change of style is incorrect in two points: it substitutes the day of full moon for the fourteenth day, and the moon of the heavens for the calendar moon. But the details thus wrongly headed are, as intended, true copies of the Gregorian calendar.
  27. ^ a b C R Cheney 1945, Chapter 6.
  28. ^ Campion, Rev W M; Beamont, Rev W J (1870). The Prayer Book interleaved. London. p. 31. Before the Reformation St Matthias' day was kept in Leap-year, on Feb. 25th. In the Prayer-book of 1549 we read: "This is also to be noted, concerning the Leap-years, that the 25th day of February, which in Leap-years is counted for two days, shall in those two days alter neither Psalm nor lesson; but the same Psalms and Lessons which be said the first day, shall also serve for the second day." Wheatly thinks that this alteration was made in order that the Holy-day might always be kept on the 24th. In the Calendar put forth in 1561 the old practice was resumed, and the following rule which was inserted in the Prayer-book of 1604, was promulgated: "When the year of our Lord may be divided into four even parts, which is every fourth year, then the Sunday letter leapeth, and that year the Psalms and Lessons which serve for the 23rd day of February, shall be read again the day following, except it be Sunday, which hath Proper Lessons of the Old Testament, appointed in the Table serving to that purpose." In 1662 the intercalary day was made the 29th of February so that St Matthias now must always be kept on the 24th. The first rubric change accurately replicated the prior system, so Wheatly's supposition is incorrect. The second rubric change could not and did not move St Mattthias' Day from the 25th to the 24th in leap years.
  29. ^ The Book of Common Prayer. printed 1762 John Baskerville. Church of England. 1662. p. 4.CS1 maint: others (link)
  30. ^ a b "DE ANNO BISSEXTILI". The Law Network. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  31. ^ Owen Ruffhead, ed. (1769). "Statute De Anno et Die Bissextili 1236". The Statutes at Large; from Magna Charta to the end of the Reign of King Henry the Sixth. p. 20. (21 Hen, III)
  32. ^ Edward Coke (1628). "Cap. 1, Of Fee Simple.". First Part of the Institutes of the Lawes of England. p. 8 left [30].
  33. ^ Act of Uniformity 1662. 1819. p. 364.
  34. ^ "Brough against Perkins. 2 LD Raym 994. Page 161: passage on 162 at end of case" (PDF).
  35. ^ Danby Pickering, ed. (1765). "Calendar (New Style) Act 1750, Annexe". The Calendar with the Table of Lessons FEBRUARY hath xxviii Days And in every Leap year xxix Days
  36. ^ "The King against the Inhabitants of Worminghall. Page 350. Eng R 544; (1817) 6 M & S 350; 105 ER 1274". 1817.
  37. ^ Bond, John James (1875). Handy Book of Rules and Tables for Verifying Dates With the Christian Era Giving an Account of the Chief Eras and Systems Used by Various Nations...'. London: George Bell & Sons. p. xvii–xvii. See footnote on pages xvii–xviii: original text of the Scottish decree.
  38. ^ David Masson, ed. (1884). The Register of the Privy Council of Scotland. VI. p. 63.
  39. ^ Parliament of Ireland (1750), Calendar (New Style) Act, 1750, Government of Ireland, retrieved 13 September 2017
  40. ^ Mark M Smith (October 1998). "Culture, Commerce and Calendar Reform in Colonial America". The William and Mary Quarterly. 55 (4): 557–584. doi:10.2307/2674445. JSTOR 2674445.
  41. ^ Brown, Elizabeth Gaspar (1964). British Statutes in American Law 1776-1836. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Law School.
  42. ^ "2.01 Common law and certain statutes declared in force.". Florida Statutes. State of Florida.
  43. ^ "List of British Statutes" (PDF). Florida State University.
  44. ^ "Benson Reception of the Common Law in Missouri".
  45. ^ Email 11 January 2018 from University of Michigan Law Library. "Thank you for your question. As far as I can find through my research, there is no explicit federal law (historical or recent) officially adopting the Gregorian Calendar in the United States. While many countries include the adoption of a specific calendar within their constitution, the U.S. has never done so. The use of the calendar is likely a vestige of British law, which first began, as you mentioned, from the Calendar (New Style) Act of 1750. States are free to make official pronouncements about the calendar adopted but this is likely not done by all states. A few states have laws that lend support to the idea that the U.S. observance of the Gregorian calendar is a vestige of British law. For example, New York in Gen. Constr. Law § 50 and California in Gov. Code, § 6801, explicitly state that the year is computed according to the Gregorian system after 1752, which indicates they are referring back to the British Act of 1750 which affected the length of years up until 1752."
  46. ^ Robert Douglas (29 November 2013). "Calendar". Canadian encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  47. ^ "Question1. What years are leap years?". National Research Council Canada.
  48. ^ "Australian Courts Act 1828" (PDF). Government of Australial. p. 31 (original), 9 (transcript). ... and be it further enacted that all laws and statutes in force within the realm of England at the time of the passing of this act [...] shall be applied in the administration of justice in the courts of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land respectively...
  49. ^ "Imperial Acts Application Act 1969 No 30, First Schedule". Government of New South Wales. 28 September 2020. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  50. ^ "Imperial Acts Application Act 1969 No 30, Part 3, Division 2 Calendar §16". Government of New South Wales. 28 September 2020. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  51. ^ "English Laws Act 1858 (21 and 22 Victoriae 1858 No 2)". Government of New Zealand.
  52. ^ "English Laws Act 1908 ~ New Zealand". Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  53. ^ "Imperial Laws Application Act 1988". Government of New Zealand. Schedule 1: Imperial enactments in force in New Zealand.
  54. ^ Danby Pickering, ed. (1765). "Anno Regni Georgii II. Regis Magnae Britanniae, Franciae & Hiberniae". The Statutes at Large from the 23rd to the 26th Year of King George II. 20. p. 140. ('Regnal year of George II, Great King of Britain, France and Ireland')
  55. ^ Poole 1995, p. 101-102.
  56. ^ Steel, Duncan (2000). Marking Time: The Epic Quest to Invent the Perfect Calendar. Wiley. p. 249. ISBN 978-0-471-40421-7.
  57. ^ a b Poole 1995, p. 103.
  58. ^ Poole 1995, p. 118.
  59. ^ "Calendar (New Style) Act 1750, Section 6". Parliament of Great Britain – via National Archives.
  60. ^ a b c Poole 1995, p. 117.
  61. ^ Poole 1995, p. 106.
  62. ^ Poole 1995, pp. 108, 109.
  63. ^ Poole 1995, p. 97.
  64. ^ Poole 1995, p. 122.
  65. ^ Poole 1995, p. 112.
  66. ^ a b c Young 1977, p. 149.
  67. ^ Danby Pickering, ed. (1765). "CAP XXX An act to amend an act made in the last session of parliament intituled An act for regulating the commencement of the year and for correcting the calendar now in use". The Statutes at Large from the 23rd to the 26th Year of King George II. 20. 25 Geo II c.30
  68. ^ Danby Pickering, ed. (1765). "CAP XXX An act to amend an act made in the last session of parliament intituled An act to continue, explain and amend several laws more effectually to prevent the spreading of distemper which now rages amongst the horned cattle in this kingdom". The Statutes at Large from the 23rd to the 26th Year of King George II. 20. 25 Geo II c.31. The text of the act is not available.
  69. ^ "Statute Law Revision Act 1948" (PDF). p. 1473. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  70. ^ a b Coke, Sir Edward (1628). Institutes of the Lawes of England. Sometimes called "Coke on Littleton" because it contains Sir Thomas Littleton's 1481 treatise on property law with a commentary by Coke. Volume 1 at 46b. "Coke" is pronounced "Cook"
  71. ^ Coke Upon Littleton 46b.
  72. ^ See, for example, "Zoan v Rouamba". 2000. (EWCA Civ 8, [2001] 1 WLR 1509.)
  73. ^ "Drafting bills for Parliament". See heading 8.
  74. ^ Exposition of the Land Tax. The link here is to a website that contains two books about land tax by Bourdin and An Exposition of the Land Tax is the second book.
  75. ^ Land Tax Perpetuation Act 1798, 38 Geo III c.60 at page 725.
  76. ^ Poole 1995, p. 117, footnote 77.
  77. ^ Poole 1998, chapter 9, footnote 34.
  78. ^ Parnham, Steve (2016). The Intriguing Truth about 5th April. CreateSpace. ISBN 978-1541126596..
  79. ^ Steel, Duncan (2000). Marking time: the epic quest to invent the perfect calendar (illustrated ed.). John Wiley and Sons. p. 5. ISBN 0-471-29827-1.
  80. ^ Richardson, H. G. (1925). "The Exchequer Year". Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. Cambridge University Press. 8: 171–190. doi:10.2307/3678321. ISSN 0080-4401. JSTOR 3678321. From the earliest times and for many centuries the year of account in the Exchequer ended at Michaelmas
  81. ^ C R Cheney 1945, Table III in Chapter 2 which lists the Exchequer Years from Henry I to William IV. Every year ends on the quarter day, 29 September..
  82. ^ "How were pipe rolls compiled?". The Pipe Roll Society. Archived from the original on 27 January 2019. Each roll nominally covered the events of a year ending at Michaelmas (29 September), rather than the calendar year or the regnal year, which was used in the rolls produced by other government departments.
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  86. ^ "Of course it should be the 6th April!?". 5 August 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2020. HM Revenue & Customs are a very helpful lot and explained the reason why the tax year starts on 6 April as follows: 'In order not to lose 11 days’ tax revenue in that tax year, though, the authorities decided to tack the missing days on at the end, which meant moving the beginning of the tax year from the 25 March, Lady Day, (which since the Middle Ages had been regarded as the beginning of the legal year) to 6 April'. [This explanation repeats the error made by Philips (1921), as described below in #Old explanation for 6 April tax year. It no longer appears on the HMRC website.]
  87. ^ See, for example, Report of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue 1870 (Report). p. 111. There can be no doubt that both the apportionments to the counties by statute, and in that to the divisions by the Commissioners, the amounts were determined by reference to the assessments made under the first Act in 1692. In the Acts passed annually, or nearly so, for the next hundred years the Commissioners are specially directed to observe the proportions established in the reign of William and Mary, and this direction is repeated in Mr Pitt's Act of 1797.
  88. ^ Danby Pickering (ed.). "XXII: An act for granting to his Majesty several rates and duties upon offices and pensions; and upon houses; and upon windows or lights; and for raising the sum of five millions by annuities, and a lottery, to be charged on the said rates and duties". The Statutes at Large: from the 30th to the 33rd year of King George II. p. 270 [315]. (31 Geo II c.22) Section XXXI: "Window Tax".
  89. ^ "Chapter V: An Act for granting to his Majesty by a land tax, to be raised in Great Britain, for the Service of the Year one thousand seven hundred and ninety eight". The Statutes Revised Edition: Volume III: 11 George III to 41 George III. p. 461. (38 Geo III c.5)
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  93. ^ Parliament of the United Kingdom (1860). "Income Tax Act 1860 (23 Vict c.14.)". A collection of the public general statutes passed in the twenty third and twenty fourth years of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. Being the second session of the eighteenth parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. p. 86..
  94. ^ Parliament of the United Kingdom (1880). "Taxes Management Act 1880 (43 & 44 Vict c.19)". THE LAW REPORTS The Public General Statutes passed in the forty third year of the reign of her Majesty Queen Victoria 1880 with tables showing the effect of the session's legislation and a copious index. XVI. Article 48 (3)
  95. ^ Parliament of the United Kingdom (1919). "Finance Act 1919 (9 & 10 Geo 5 c.32)". Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  96. ^ "Income Tax Act 2007",, The National Archives, 2007 c. 3 Section 4
  97. ^ a b Philip, Alexander (1921). The Calendar: its History, Structure and Improvement. Cambridge University Press. p. 24. OCLC 457646963. Retrieved 13 February 2020 – via Internet Archive.
  98. ^ "Interpretation Act 1978",, The National Archives, 1978, 1978 c. 30, retrieved 18 November 2020 See Schedule 1, Definitions
  99. ^ "Interpretation Act 1889" (PDF). Government of the United Kingdom. p. 13.
  100. ^ Poole 1995, footnote 77, page 117.


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