I was reading about New Style and Old Style dates, and I thought about the deletion of dates during the transition. From Wikipedia's article on the Gregorian calendar:

When the new calendar was put in use, the error accumulated in the 13 centuries since the Council of Nicaea was corrected by a deletion of 10 days. The Julian calendar day Thursday, 4 October 1582 was followed by the first day of the Gregorian calendar, Friday, 15 October 1582 (the cycle of weekdays was not affected).

And later, such as in the British colonies in 1752, the prior year was a short 282 days (a deletion of over 80 days).

So, how were debts, such as accrued interest loans, fixed/balloon payments, etc handled? If this kind of change were to occur today and suddenly 10 days were deleted and it suddenly went from May 21st to June 1st, I'd have a check of a time making the mortgage payment. Were loan terms adjusted for the new calendar? Or did the government reduce its tax rates temporarily? How did the economies at the time adjust to this?

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    In 1752 the mismatch between Old Style and New Style dates was only of 11 days. Where did you get the idea of in the British colonies in 1752, the prior year was a short 282 days (a deletion of over 80 days) from?
    – SJuan76
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 10:11
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    Also, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…. The due dates were converted from Old Style to their equivalent New Style dates. Taxes were solved the same way, by moving the due day 11 days.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/…. Does that answer your question?
    – SJuan76
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 10:28
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    @SJuan76 I got the short year from the same Wikipedia article (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_calendar). From that article: England, Ireland and the British colonies changed the start of the year to 1 January in 1752 (so 1751 was a short year with only 282 days).... And I did a simple subtraction of 365 - 282. And now that I think about it, a deletion of 80+ days doesn't make much sense. If the calendar was off by 10 days in 1582, going another 170 years doesn't increase the error by that much. I wonder how they claimed a 282 day year?
    – PlayDough
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 15:22
  • @SJuan76 Thank you for the link. That answers the tax question. I suppose creditors did the same. But it isn't clear to me how this is done. If I have a debt payment due on the first of every month, did creditors move their due dates to the 10th or 11th of every month for the remainder of the loan term?
    – PlayDough
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 15:33

2 Answers 2


While I doubt there was much debt involving monthly payments as compared to today, it is known that (any) calender reform caused a lot of confusion that even today confounds historians.

All legal documents were impacted and there even were protests where people reclaimed the days lost as they were believed to shorten their lives.

Theoretically if your debt was due between September 3 and 14 in the Britain of 1752 you'd be off for free as these days never existed. In practice I think that did not happen at all as failure to repay your debts made you a felon and punishment was harsh, the law being very much on the side of the creditor.

In the end I expect people just muddled through with the courts having a field day.


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    This is what I was looking for, and it makes sense. Are there any references to legal cases surrounding the date change and debt repayment or collection?
    – PlayDough
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 15:52
  • I've looked around a bit but found not actual relevant cases. I'll look some more but don't keep your hopes up too high.
    – Bookeater
    Commented May 31, 2016 at 19:33
  • Debt was usually collected every X days, calendars being Mostly toys for the idle wealthy... So your debt collector would come by on every 10th day for example, unless that's a sunday in which case he might come the next day.
    – jwenting
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 6:36

Different societies use different days to start the calendar year. Changing the start date of the year is possibly the most simple change to make to a calendar. Thus in medieval Europe it was possible to travel from one year to another by traveling between places that started their calendar years at different dates.

In England the calendar years started on March 25th from about 1200 AD. Thus March 24, 1250, would be followed in England by March 25, 1251, and 12 months later there would be March 1 to March 24, 1251, followed by March 25, 1252.

England changed the start of the calendar year to January 1 at the same time as adopting the Gregorian calendar, thus making one year a few months shorter.

Added 05-15-2017.

There were, however, legitimate concerns about tax and other payments under the new calendar. Provision 6 (Times of Payment of Rents, Annuities) of the Act stipulated that monthly or yearly payments would not become due until the dates that they originally would have in the Julian calendar, or in the words of the Act "[Times of Payment of Rents, Annuities] at and upon the same respective natural days and times as the same should and ought to have been payable or made or would have happened in case this Act had not been made".



  • This change of "New Years Day" from March 25th to January 1st is still a bit confusing. I get the nominal (as in naming) start of the year aspect, but changing the nominal start of year isn't the same thing as changing the calendar year with respect to the earth's movement around the sun. So this change coincident with the switch to the Gregorian calendar did both switching the nominal start of the year as well as deleting the 10 or 11 days?
    – PlayDough
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 15:51
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    PlayDough - the Calendar Act 1750 in Great Britain decreed that calendar year 1750 would last from March 25, 1751 to December 31, 1751 (282 days), and that Wednesday 2 September 1752 was followed by Thursday 14 September 1752, thus making calendar year 1752 last for 355 days. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calendar_(New_Style)_Act_1750
    – MAGolding
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 21:59
  • The tax year used to begin March 25th, Lady Day, but was changed to April 5th to allow the extra 11 days. The omission of Feb 29th from 1800, which but for the reforms would have been a leap year resulted in a further change to the tax year start, to April 6th. This alteration was not repeated in 1900 and the UK tax year still starts on April 6th.
    – davidlol
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 13:38

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