DOUBLE DATES IN SCOTLAND, AND DATE CHANGES IN THE UK.

—By an Act of the Privy Council of 17th December 1599, it was ordained that, in agreement with the general practice on the Continent, the 1st of January should, beginning with the year 1600, be reckoned as the first day of the year. Prior to that date the 25th of March had been the accepted first day of the year in all our records, legal deeds, etc. Through this change the position of the months of January, February, and the first twenty-four days of March was advanced one year in the new Calendar; and, hence, in quoting from documentary evidence falling within that period prior to 1st January 1600, the year in the record requires to be supplemented by that of the true year. For example, where an excerpt from the records, etc., bears to be dated 14 February 1555, it is rendered thus—14 February 1555-6.

 The British Parliament of 1751 adopted the Scottish style of recognising the 1st of January as the first day of the year. It also decreed that the year 1752 should be shortened by eleven days—the 3rd of September being reckoned as the 14th of September—so as to bring the British Calendar in line with the Gregorian.

The estimates under the British Budget still continue to be reckoned from the 25th of March, now represented—through the elision of the eleven days—by the 5th of April.

An interesting consequence of the change of year concerned George Home, Minister of Chirnside , who died 5 October 1755. After his death a dispute arose between his executors and Walter Anderson, his successor, concerning the half-year's stipend, it being argued that but for the change in the calendar in 1752 H. would have died before Michaelmas. The Lords of Session decided that the old calendar ruled, and that H. died before Michaelmas according to that style. [ Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, H Scott (1915), vol 2, p 34.]

14/12/2011

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