Dating me for money

For further information about measurement see Colin Chapman, ‘How heavy, how much and how long?

: weights, money and other measures used by our ancestors’ (Lochin,1995).

1752 was the first year in England to officially begin on 1 January.

Until the Calendar Act of 1752, the year in England began officially on 25 March (Lady Day), and not 1 January (even though this was when New Year’s Day was celebrated).

Watch out for documents written in the reign of Charles II.

Although he came to the throne in May 1660, after the Commonwealth period, he actually calculated his regnal year as beginning on 30 January 1649, the date of the execution of his father Charles I.

Compare this with the modern French word for 80 - quatre-vingts, ‘four twenties’.

Ordinal numbers are represented by superscript letters following them, just as today. Top of page Money was calculated in pounds, shillings and pence. The pound was represented either by ‘li’, or £: transcribe both with a £ sign before the amount given. It was worth two-thirds of a pound, that is 13s 4d.

This symbol is actually an elaborate ‘L’, from the Latin ‘libra’, meaning pound. Half a mark (one-third of a pound) was therefore 6s 8d.

Thus the year number did not change until 25 March, so taking 1558 as an example, the dates ran as follows: So if you see a document dated any time between January and 24 March before 1752, be aware that in modern terms, you need to add a year.

In publications you may see this written as January 1750/51, the year as it was known at the time / the year as we know it now.

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