Regnal Years in EnglandEdit This Page

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Most calendar systems are based on the phases of the moon and the rotation of the Earth.  However, significant events were often factors in dating systems.  For example, the birth of Christ divides our own calendar into B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini) (sometimes restated as B.C.E. (Before Common Era) and C.E. (Common Era).  Some ancient cultures calculated their dating systems by the rule of a monarch ("In the tenth year of the reign of King ___"). This calendering system is known as "Regnal Years" (from the Latin, regnum or rule/kingdom). Regnal years were common in Asian cultures. 

In England, Regnal years were not the prominent feature of the calendar system.  The United Kingdom, like other European cultures, utilized the Julian Calendar until 1752 and the Gregorian Calendar until present times.  However, the reigns of the British monarchs were occasionally noted and used as additional time markers.  For example, Acts of Parliament used Regnal Years.  Genealogists may also find Regnal Years in older English records.  Below are the beginning dates for the regnal years of each of the kings and queens of England[1]:


• William I .....................................25 Dec 1066
• William II .....................................26 Sep 1087
• Henry I .........................................5 Aug 1100
• Stephan ......................................26 Dec 1135
• Henry II ................................. .....19 Dec 1154
• Richard I ......................................3 Sep 1189
• John ..........................................27 May 1199
• Henry III ......................................28 Oct 1216
• Edward I .....................................20 Nov 1272
• Edward III ..................................25 Juan 1327
• Richard II ...................................22 June 1377
• Henry IV ....................................30 Sept 1399
• Henry V ......................................21 Mar 1413
• Henry VI .......................................1 Sep 1422
• Edward IV .....................................4 Mar 1461
• Edward V ......................................9 Apr 1483
• Richard III ..................................26 June 1483
• Henry VII ....................................22 Aug 1485
• Henry VIII ....................................22 Apr 1509
• Edward VI ....................................28 Jan 1547

• “Bloody” Mary ...................................6 July 1553
• Philip & Mary ..................................25 July 1554
• Elizabeth I .......................................17 Nov 1558
• James I (James VI of Scotland) .........24 Mar 1603
• Charles I .........................................27 Mar 1625
• Commonwealth Period
• Charles II ........................................30 Jan 1649
• James II ...........................................6 Feb 1685
• (Interregnum ................12 Dec 1688-12 Feb 1689)
• William III & Mary ............................13 Feb 1689
• William III .......................................28 Dec 1694
• Anne ................................................8 Mar 1702
• George I ...........................................1 Aug 1714
• George II ........................................11 June 1727
• George III .........................................25 Oct 1760
• George IV ........................................29 Jan 1820
• William IV ......................................26 June 1830
• Victoria ..........................................20 June 1837


• Discontinuation of Regnal Year System In England


Go to England_Calendar_Changes for a brief discussion of Julian and Gregorian Calendars.

Also see Julian_and_Gregorian_Calendars and Gregorian_calendar_day_of_the_week_calculator


1.  This list is slightly adapted from Baxter, Angus. In Search of Your British & Irish Roots: A complete guide to tracing your English, Welsh, Scottish, and Irish Ancestors. Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., Baltimore, 1986, p. 19. (Family History Library book:  942 D27ba 1999).


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