The Calendar ‘English Style’
The Julian calendar was retired in 1752 amid considerable resentment and suspicion.
UK summer time

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Calendars (1) Georgian Era (95) History (348)

King George II (1727-1760)
The Calendar ‘English Style’

Across much of the European continent, the old Julian Calendar was replaced by the modern Gregorian in 1582, but the English Parliament took almost two hundred dignified years to comply. Even then, affection for the ‘English Style’ of dating (still used by the Eastern churches for dating Easter) remained until the Second World War.

IN 1582, the Bishop of Rome, Pope Gregory XIII, brought in a new calendar. October 4th that year was immediately followed by October 15th. The old calendar had been introduced by Julius Caesar in 45 BC (hence its name, the Julian Calendar), and had been used in the Roman Empire, the Church, and the civilised world ever since. A weakness in the way it calculated Leap Years meant that by the sixteenth century the Julian calendar was wrong by ten days.*

Nonetheless, the Gregorian calendar was not adopted in England until 1752 – amid bitter protest, partly because it reduced the time until the Michaelmas Quarter Day.** Mainly, however, it was because it seemed like a throwback to the days before the Reformation, when the Pope claimed jurisdiction over all English laws. And to this day, the tax year begins on the 6th of April, because in 1752 this was the Gregorian equivalent of the traditional date of the 25th of March, ‘English style’.

* By 1752, the difference was eleven days, and since 1900 it has increased to thirteen.

** Wednesday September 2nd, 1752, was followed by Thursday September 14th, 1752. Quarter days were the days on which rents fell due.

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Calendars (1) Georgian Era (95) History (348)

Word Play

The word games below are adapted from textbooks used in Grammar Schools and Secondary Moderns from the 1920s to the 1960s. They are ideal as mental agility exercises, and for gaining confidence in written and spoken English.

Confusables Opposites Spinner Précis Verb or Noun? Active or Passive? Subject and Object Adjectives Word Class
Picture: A page for November from the calendar in the Book of Common Prayer (edition of 1614). The calendar and its rules for finding the date of Easter all assumed the Julian calendar used as the civil calendar of Europe from 45 BC to 1582, and in England unti 1752.
Wikimedia Commons. Public domain image.

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letters game

What is the longest word you can make using these letters?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

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numbers game

Work across from the number on the left, applying each arithmetical operation to the previous answer. What’s the final total?

Tip: Click any of the four inner squares to check your running total.

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