Henry III’s End of Year

Did Henry have a sense that a new year began on 1 January in accordance with Roman practice. The answer is  yes because we know he gave what he would have  regarded as new year’s presents on the feast of the  Circumcision, which is 1 January. See the fascinating article by Ben Wild in English Historical Review for 2010 (pp.529-69).  On the other hand, Henry would also have been aware that the Christian church began the year with one of its own festivals.  That used by Bede and  Matthew Paris, was Christmas Day. An alternative, followed by many chroniclers and sometimes by the royal chancery was 25 March, the feast of the Annunciation.

Tags: , , ,

One Response to “Henry III’s End of Year”

  1. Johanna Dale says:

    Another option was to reckon the start of the year from the moveable feast of Easter, an innovation introduced into the French chancery by Philip Augustus.

Leave a Reply