New Year change

In 1752 New Year’s Day changed from 25th March to 1st January. So when looking at old historical documents from before 1752, dated between 1st January and 25th March, the year recorded on the document is one year out from our dating method. All of the dates on this website are written from our post 1752 perspective. When transcribing an historical document, the actual date written on the document is recorded. Wherever this might cause confusion on I’ve provided a link to this page to explain the issue for anyone not familiar with it.

For example:-

On 24th March 1683 (from our dating perspective) the Newmarket St Mary’s parish register records the following regarding two people who were buried, having died in the great fire of Newmarket:-

‘both burnt in ye fire which happened March 22: 1682… a great part of this parish was consumed to ye value of 20,000’

Looking from our perspective it appears that they died over a year after the event, but in fact they died 2 days later, since what is recorded as 22nd March 1682 is what we call 22nd March 1683. So the people living at the time would have said that the great fire of Newmarket happened in 1682, and anyone living up until 1752 would have said the same. After 1752 we say it happened in 1683!

Relevant references in chronological order

1683, 24th March: Parish register note in the burials section of Newmarket St Mary’s parish register regarding the great fire of Newmarket as shown above. Reference J552/9, microfilm of Newmarket St Mary’s parish register, (Suffolk County Record Office, Bury St Edmunds). [Note: so this is on the bottom of the 1682 burials section of the register, the first burial in that year being in May 1682, but running all the way through to these two burials in early 1683 (which they regarded as 1682).], [Note also, the end of the quote above is in very pale ink, only just visible on the microfilm.]