Happy New Year!


That got your attention, didn’t it? Ha! Yes, today is the start of the new calendar year – well, it would be if we were living in Tudor times!

Yes, back in Tudor times (actually until 1752!), the new calendar year started on 25th March, which was Lady Day. Historians and researchers have to take this into account when reading documents dated from 1st January to 24th March in a given year, or when looking at things like inscriptions on tombstones. For example, I often get asked why I date Thomas Boleyn’s death to 12th March 1539 but his tomb inscription says 1538. Well, he died before Lady Day, so in Tudor terms he died in 1538, but we’d say that he died in 1539 because we start the new calendar year on 1st January. Confusing, I know!

But what is Lady Day?

Well, Lady Day, or the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin as it’s also known, is a feast day commemorating the day that the Virgin Mary was first told by the Angel Gabriel that she was carrying Jesus. It is, of course, nine months before Christmas Day, the day on which Christ was born.

So Happy New Year, my friends!

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9 thoughts on “Happy New Year!”
      1. I was thinking if it wasn’t it would have been difficult when signing and enforcing contracts.

    1. Christmas Day was still Christmas Day, 25th December, and was marked with feasting after the fasting of advent, but the big event of the 12 days was Epiphany, as it still is in quite a few Catholic countries today. The royal court would celebrate with special entertainment like masques.

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