I have read that New year's day was fixed at Lady Day 25th March from 1155 until the reform in 1752, but I can't find out who fixed it and why, can anybody help?

Responding to the comment by C.G. Campbell, I've forgotten where I read it, sorry, but that's not really relevant -- it doesn't matter if I got the date wrong. In 1750 the New year was officially Lady Day, so it must have been set sometime, so my question is still when and by whom?

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    Where did you read it, please?
    – CGCampbell
    Apr 27, 2016 at 18:55
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    @CGCampbell It is listed here: newadvent.org/cathen/03738a.htm#beginning Apr 27, 2016 at 20:02
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    For the relatively new readers, when we read "I have read", or "they say", or "I heard", we will usually ask for a source, to differentiate questions good for History compared with questions more suitable for Skeptics. I know that the New Year has been March 25th more than once in history, I just want to make sure the OP did his research.
    – CGCampbell
    Apr 28, 2016 at 0:40
  • Thank you CGCampbell for taking the trouble to explain, that is good sense and I apologise for my brusqueness. In future I will give a source for any statement like that. Thanks too to called2voyage for supplying it this time. Apr 28, 2016 at 15:24
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    @CGCampbell I understand your point, but I'm confused about your reference to Skeptics. They have the same requirement about having a source for the question. Also, my link was less for your edification, and more of a nod to the asker as to what type of information he might use May 1, 2016 at 4:39

1 Answer 1


The convention of assuming the first of the year to be assigned to March 25 in 1155 (the ascension of Henry II) is due to Bond's "Handy-Book of Rules and Tables for verifying Dates". This convention is just an approximation. In England various conventions were used, sometimes simultaneously by different people.

In general, the church in England gradually settled on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, as being the first day of the year.

  • Thank you Tyler Durden, I have downloaded a copy of that book as a .pdf file, and there it is on page 91 of the book (page 134 in the .pdf file), but still have not found an explanation of what happened at that year to change it, or why that is chosen as the putative starting point. May 1, 2016 at 9:24
  • No references here so feel free to down vote etc. However, I believe it's a convention in Land Law that the start of Henry II is "time immemorial". So if you can prove a piece of land was sold to you through a chain back to Henry II it is yours. Thus if someone thought. X was true in the 14th century but not true in the 9th but didn't have a clear reason to have been brought over by the Conquest one might choose the start of Henry II. Jun 24, 2020 at 0:50

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