The Swedes finally settled for the Gregorian calendar in 1753 omitting the eleven days from 18th to the end of February of that year.In Britain the Gregorian calendar was not adopted until 1752, and the start of year date was changed to 1st January by the same Act of Parliament.The Feast of the Annunciation, 25th March, started to be used in the ninth century in parts of southern Europe, but only became widespread in Europe from the eleventh century and in England from the late twelfth. 1st January then started to be used as the start of the year, starting in Venice in 1522.Dates when this change was made in some other countries are: Leap Years The Roman calendar before Julius Caesar was based on a year of 365 days. By the seventeenth century the calendar was again out of step, because 365.25 was a slight over-estimate of the true length of a year. So Pope Gregory XIII decreed that the day following 4th October 1582 would be 15th October.These were Spain, Portugal and Italy, with France following in December of that year, and Prussia, the Catholic States of Germany, Holland and Flanders on 1st January 1583.Catholic parts of Switzerland followed in the next two years, Poland went Gregorian in 1586 and Hungary in 1587.
This article is copyright Mike Spathaky 1995, 2006.
Before 1752 parish registers, in addition to a new year heading after 24th March showing, for example "1733", had another heading at the end of the following December indicating "1733/4".
This showed where the Historical Year 1734 started even though the Civil Year 1733 continued until 24th March.
England could not help being influenced by the Gregorian calendar.
Communication between England and the Continent was thus prone to ambiguities as far as dates were concerned, due firstly to the difference of ten days (eleven after 1700), and secondly to the different start of the year. The Start of the year Even within England a year starting in 1st January (known as the Historical Year) was in general use for almanacs and various other purposes, and 1st January had always been celebrated as the New Year festival.