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From 1155 to 1752, the civil or legal year in England began on 25 March (Lady Day) The corresponding date in the Gregorian calendar is 9 February 1649, the date by which his contemporaries in some parts of continental Europe would have recorded his execution. During the years between the first introduction of the Gregorian calendar in continental Europe and its introduction in Britain, contemporary usage in England started to change.

This change was implemented subsequently in Protestant and Orthodox countries, usually at much later dates.

For a more general discussion of the equivalent transitions in other countries, see Adoption of the Gregorian calendar. There were two calendar changes in Great Britain and its colonies, which may sometimes complicate matters: the first change was to change the start of the year from Lady Day (25 March) to 1 January; the second was to discard the Julian calendar in favour of the Gregorian calendar.

Closely related is the custom of dual dating, where writers gave two consecutive years to reflect differences in the starting date of the year, or to include both the Julian and Gregorian dates.

The need for change arose from the realisation that the correct figure for number of days in a year is not 365.25 (365 days 6 hours) as supposed by the Julian calendar but almost exactly 365.2425 days (365 days 5 hours 49 minutes 12 seconds), a reduction of 10 minutes 48 seconds per year: the Julian calendar has too many leap years. When this usage is encountered, the reader should not assume that the British adoption date is intended, or that the 'start of year' change and the calendar system change were adopted concurrently, or even that religious adoption accompanied civil adoption.

The consequence was that the basis for calculation of the date of Easter as decided in the fourth century had drifted from reality. In the case of Eastern Europe, for example, all of these assumptions would be incorrect.

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Events in continental western Europe are usually reported in English language histories as happening under the Gregorian calendar.

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