On this day in 1752 the 3rd of September became the 14th as part of the changes caused by the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar into England and Wales and crowds of people rioted on the streets demanding, ‘Give us back our 11 days.’
The Gregorian reform had started in 1582, in Pope Gregory XIII’s time but took some time to be adopted by Europe.
The first day of the year, or Supputation of the Year became the 1st of January under the new calendar system. Prior to this the year began on Lady Day, or the 25th March. The Calendar Act 1750 had changed this situation, so that the day after 31 December 1751 was the 1 January 1752. As a consequence, 1751 was a very short year – it ran only from 25 March to 31 December!
The year had previously been broken up into quarters, still in use for some legal practices, Lady Day (25th March), Midsummers Day (24th June), Michaelmas Day (29th September) and Christmas day (25th December).
To throw even more confusion into this situation, Scotland had already changed the first day of the year to 1 January in 1600 and so 1599 was a short year there ( remember that in 1600, Scotland was a completely separate kingdom). What has to be recognised is that when King James VI of Scotland also became King James I of England in 1603, the possibilities of date confusion must have been very large indeed. Today it confuses many a family historian.
The loss of the 11 days was required to balance the calendar with the solar year, as it had gone out of sequence over the span of the centuries.