1st January 1752. Adelante! Forward!

Limewheel. info.

The Roman god Janus looked back into the old, and forward into the new year which made sense to start on the 1st of January as opposed to March 25 which had obtained since the 12th century.

In 1582 Pope Gregory X decided at the Council of Trent to reform the calendar as Solar Time had become out of kilter with the calendar. (1)

When Britain changed its Julian to the Gregorian Calendar in 1752 there was now a discrepancy of 11 days which had to be ‘lost’.


Janus: left looks back: right to the future.

The Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 (Chesterfield Act) came in force Today on 1st January 1752, with the change to start from Wednesday September 2nd, thus the following day Thursday became the 14th.(2)

However many people at that time marked the passage of time by Christian festivals and indeed ignored the ‘new-fangled’ calendar.

So Christmas for example was celebrated on the ‘new style’ January 6th  as opposed to the 25th December of the new Gregorian Calendar.

Confusion abounded up until 1752, as seen, for example, in the opening year of Pepys’ Diary as 1659/60 which records the New Year in old and new dating (Old Style and New Style).

Another place where this can be seen is in the many hatchments now reposing in many old churches, which also have two year dates.(3)

(1) The last year of the century would not be a leap year except when divisible by 400.

(2)  Act named after Phillip Stanhope 4th Earl of Chesterfield who in the House of Lords had urged the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar. However he suffered from Tory opposition as a result.

(3) Hatchments are lozenge-shaped black, heraldic boards commemorating a deceased and originally hung over the front door, then later placed in church.

Ref: wikipedia.co.uk/also Image of Janus.

Ref :Limewheel.info/Image of New Year.


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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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